“Does the government really run the country [United States]?,” asks filmmaker Francis Megahy in his documentary about lobbying, The Best Government Money Can Buy.
Starting with the startling statistic that lobbyists outnumber senators 140 to 1 and representatives 32 to 1, and spent $6.7 billion in 2009, this wake-up film tells a story many of us know, but don’t know well enough. While $6.7 billion may sound like a lot of money (and it is, actually), compare it to the financial bail-outs that were the results of lobbying efforts.
Lobbyists cloak themselves in the protection of the Constitution’s First Amendment regarding petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. That vague boing-ing noise you hear is my imagination being stretched to its limits to allow that bit of rationalization to be considered.
Lobbying is how the people with the most money get the rest of us to do what they want–give them more money. The average return on the lobbying dollar is 100 to 1. Want to reconsider your investments?
Essentially, how lobbying works is that a politician is presented with someone’s views on an issue. If the politician works to enact legislation favorable to that someone (or to defeat unfavorable legislation) then that someone–who has very deep pockets–rewards the politician with a nice campaign contribution.
According to some of those interviewed for The Best Government Money Can Buy, without lobbying (which is a “branch of the government”) there would be no government.
According to the lobbyists interviewed, there are no unethical practices used by lobbyists, and they would never, ever use any (if there were, but there aren’t). Somewhere lost in all of the semantics is the fact that deep-pocketed corporations are shelling out millions of dollars to their lobbyists to protect their interests, while the rest of us rely on a postage stamp or e-mail.
The very notion that legislators are not influenced by lobbyists (who often supply first drafts of legislation–that’s right, the lobbyists are writing the law) is ludicrous.
The Best Government Money Can Buy is intriguing because it is so nearly objective. Francis Megahy is no Michael Moore inflaming us with his indignation.
Instead, he calmly goes about the business of getting answers from experts, academicians, lobbyists, reporters, and other observers.The inflamed emotions are left to the viewers who don’t find “business as usual” to be all that acceptable (and even we politibates tend to be somewhat inflamed by injustice).
Bottom Line: Would I buy/rent/stream The Best Government Money Can Buy? Yes, rent or stream. On second thought…I’d consider buying and passing it along. Release date: October 26, 2010.
First published on Technorati: http://technorati.com/entertainment/film/article/dvd-the-best-government-money-can/#ixzz143KbdA00