K Street raking it in with the onslaught of new regulations
posted at 1:21 pm on December 18, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
It’s no secret that the administration waited until after they had secured President Obama’s reelection to really let loose on all of the new rules and regulations they’d been waiting to unleash on America; plenty of the rules relating to Dodd-Frank, ObamaCare, and the White House’s oh-so-highfalutin climate-change ambitions were just waiting in the wings to be written until is was completely safe to come out of the shadows, and that’s on top of the already impressive amount of regulatory work the administration managed to get done in Obama’s first term. Regulatory costs are estimated to have increased by a whopping $70 billion during that first term alone, and the White House has routinely flouted the deadlines for the legally-required regulatory agenda they are supposed to publish twice a year.
While all of those new regulations have produced enough devastating uncertainty and encumbering red tape to keep our economic ‘recovery’ from gaining much speed, there is at least one industry that’s feeling A-OK about the new regulatory order. Writes The Hill:
Top K Street officials say their regulatory work has accelerated in recent years thanks to the sprawling rule-making from the healthcare and financial reform laws.
“We’re in this situation now, where we have this strong executive branch [that is] taking full advantage of being able to do whatever they want,” said Rich Gold, a partner at Holland & Knight.
While revenue from traditional lobbying work has flatlined, K Street firms say their regulatory practices are thriving. Several lobbyists said federal agencies are increasingly “where all the action is.” …
“Regulatory lobbying is skyrocketing,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist at the consumer watchdog group Public Citizen. “Reportable lobbying at agencies has gone up in recent years, and that’s only a small part of the lobbying that goes on.” …
But it’s clear that companies are shelling out big bucks to stay on top of new rules and regulations. …
The lobbying work “below the surface” includes coaching clients on how to deal with regulators and regulations, writing and submitting comment letters and connecting with lower-level agency employees. The outreach to the agencies is only partially revealed by the LDA forms, as only contact with senior administration officials must be disclosed under the law. …
Nutshell version: Less transparency, more complexity, and more bureaucracy, all of which can be mighty helpful to bigger companies in their rent-seeking endeavors — which incidentally helps to further trammel the little guys that can’t afford to hire a bunch of special attorneys and accountants to help translate the ever-mounting regulatory code.
Also incidentally, it just so happens that Washington, DC contains and is surrounded by some of the highest median incomes in the entire country. Just sayin.’
American incomes have tumbled over the last decade. But for many people in Washington, D.C., it’s been something of a party.
The income of the typical D.C. household rose 23.3% between 2000 and 2012 to an inflation-adjusted $66,583, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, its most comprehensive snapshot of America’s demographic, social and economic trends. During this period, median household incomes for the nation as a whole dropped 6.6% — from $55,030 to $51,371. The state of Mississippi, which had one of the biggest declines, dropped 15% to $37,095: Nearly one in three people there have an income that is near the poverty line.
The Washington, D.C. metro area — which includes the surrounding suburbs in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia — has it even better, with a median household income of $88,233 that ranks highest among the U.S.’s 25 most populous metro areas. Tampa, Florida’s median income, by contrast, is under $45,000.
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