THIS IS A GREAT ARTICLE......
By Lou Dobbs
Editor's note: Lou Dobbs' commentary appears every Wednesday on CNN.com
NEW YORK (CNN) -- I don't know about you, but I can't take seriously anyone who takes either the Republican Party or Democratic Party seriously -- in part because neither party takes you and me seriously; in part because both are bought and paid for by corporate America and special interests. And neither party gives a damn about the middle class.
Our country's middle class is not just collateral damage in what has become all-out class warfare. Political, business and academic elites are waging an outright war on working men and women and their families, and there is no chance the American middle class will survive this assault if the dominant forces unleashed over the past five years continue unchecked.
They've accomplished this through large campaign contributions, armies of lobbyists that have swamped Washington, and control of political and economic think tanks and media. Lobbyists, in fact, are the arms dealers in the war on the middle class, brokering money, influence and information between their clients our elected officials.
Yet in my entire career, I've literally never heard anyone in Congress argue that lobbyists are bad for America. In 1968 there were only 63 lobbyists in Washington. Today, there are more than 34,000, and lobbyists now outnumber our elected representatives and their staffs by a 2-to-1 margin.
According to the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity, from 1998 through 2004, lobbyists spent nearly $12 billion to not only influence legislation, but in many cases to write the language of the laws and regulations.
Individual firms, corporations and national organizations spent a record $2.14 billion on lobbying members of Congress and 220 other federal agencies in 2004, according to PoliticalMoneyLine. That's nearly $6 million a day spent to influence our leaders. We really do have the best government money can buy.