After the 2013 Legislature met, one newspaper ran the standard story bemoaning how the monied interests swayed legislators from the proper path.
In the liberal world, all things political can be explained by money. Thus, during elections they dwell upon campaign contributions, rather than explaining the issues to voters.
Legislative sessions are all about lobbyists and contributions, as far as liberals are concerned.
Lobbyists, as I have observed before, are competitors of the newspapers so the newspapers beat them up constantly, never revealing their conflict of interest.
Newspapers would prefer that legislators simply vote as their editorial pages instruct them to vote, rather than listen to lobbyists on both sides of an issue and get all of the information they need to make an intelligent vote.
This story posited that those who contributed a lot of money or spent a lot of money on lobbying had their way with the Legislature.
However, there are a few gaping holes in the story.
For one, the story admitted that some of the bigger spenders did not get their way. How can that be if money ordains the outcome?
It also fails to grasp that for every special interest (a nebulous term intended to connote evil intent) lobbyist there usually is a lobbyist on the other side. Virtually every session there is a tussle between lawyers and insurance companies or opticians and optometrists or doctors and chiropractors, etc. All of those folks can well afford to hire someone to present their views to politicians.
Most glaringly, the story did not even note the big win by the biggest special interest of all the powerful education lobby.
All teachers will get a whopping pay raise courtesy of the Republican governor and Republican-dominated Legislature. This is a big win for the well-heeled teacher union bosses.
This does not fit the liberal template at all. Hence, even though it would have helped strengthen a pretty weak story, it was omitted.
Actually, only effective teachers are supposed to get the raise but in Florida we have a Lake Wobegon public school system where everyone is above average except the students.
Oddly enough, the theory that money makes law suggests by extension that incentives matter.
Yet, this contradicts another liberal theory that says people simply ignore higher taxes, which underlies the static analysis the federal government uses to predict the impact of tax increases. It refuses to take into account any possible change in people's behavior.
Asked at a congressional hearing what impact a marginal income tax rate of 100 percent would have, one bureaucrat was forced to predict that people would pay 100 percent in taxes. In other words, they would gladly work an entire year for almost nothing.
If interests, special and otherwise, spend a lot of money lobbying it usually is because they stand to lose a lot if the Legislature makes bad policy.
Why is it that liberals worry so much when people spend their own money and so little when politicians are spending yours?
Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement, he served as speech writer for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.