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Chapter 7 Interest Groups ZThe Nature of Interest Groups ZPrivate organizations Ztry to persuade public officials to respond to their members ZUnlike political.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 7 Interest Groups ZThe Nature of Interest Groups ZPrivate organizations Ztry to persuade public officials to respond to their members ZUnlike political."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 7 Interest Groups ZThe Nature of Interest Groups ZPrivate organizations Ztry to persuade public officials to respond to their members ZUnlike political parties Zdo not nominate candidates, focus on winning elections ZStimulate people to be involved in public affairs and to participate in politics ZProblem Zinfluence disproportionate to size and occasionally use unethical tactics

2 Role of Interest Groups Z1st Amendment Z“the right of the people to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” ZAllows for creation of interest groups ZGun control? ZPrayer in public school? ZIncrease in minimum wage? ZAbortion? ZGay rights?

3 Political Parties and Interest Groups ZBoth consist of people who unite for a purpose… ZOverlap ZImportant differences ZNominations ZPolitical parties pick ZInterest groups influence ZPrimary focus ZPolitical parties who, noun ZInterest groups what, issue ZScope ZRange of public affairs

4 Interest Groups… Good or Bad ZJames Madison ZThought factions were bad ZUndo influence of the few over the many ZHow stop? ZEliminate factions, eliminate freedom ZBalance, many factions ZNecessary evil

5 Positive attributes ZStimulate interest in public affairs ZWhy is this interest important? ZRepresent based on shared ideas not geography ZTeachers ZFarmers ZProvide the gov’t with info ZEmployment, price levels, ZVehicles for political participation ZOne mom vs MADD ZChecks and Balances ZKeep tabs on public agencies ZCompete ZLimit power of each other ZClean air act? ZAuto industry -vs- environmental

6 Negative Attributes ZInfluence ZProportion to size? ZDependant on how organized and financed not size… ZRepresentation ZWho and how many? ZThe world will never know ZViews ZNot all ways represent views of all their members ZNormally driven by a small active few ZTactics ZBribery, threats, violence Zabortion

7 Shapes and Sizes ZMembership ZThousands, millions, hand full ZFoundation ZEconomic interest ZBusiness Zlabor ZIdeas ZGay rights ZWelfare ZProtections of certain groups ZVeterans, seniors, homeless ZMultiple ZCan belong to many groups

8 Groups based on Economic Interests: how people make their money Part One ZBusiness ZExamples ZNAM: National Association of Manufacturers ZBig business ZChamber of Commerce ZSmaller businesses ZBusiness Roundtable Z150 chief executive officers ZTrade Associations ZAmerican trucking association, American Restaurant Association

9 Groups based on Economic Interests: how people make their money Part Two ZLabor ZExamples ZAFL: American Federation of Labor ZFOP: Fraternal Order of Police ZChapters in each state ZNot always see eye to eye with National chapter

10 Groups based on Economic Interests: how people make their money Part Three ZAgriculture ZExamples ZNational Grange ZOldest, Most conservative ZFocus on welfare of families ZNorth east and Mid Atlantic States ZAmerican Farm Bureau ZLargest, Most powerful ZMidwest Zopposing gov’t regulation Z“Let us do our job” ZNational Farmers Union ZStrength from smaller less fortunate farmers ZDirty Farmers ZUpper Mid West and West

11 Groups based on Economic Interests: how people make their money Part Four ZCertain professions ZRequire extensive training and specialization ZMedicine, law, teaching ZExamples ZAMA: American Medical Association ZDoctors ZABA: American Bar Association ZLawyers ZNEA: National Education Association ZTeachers ZTrue impact ZWhy would these organizations have influence upon public policies disproportionate to their size?

12 Groups based on Economic Interests: how people make their money Part Five ZPromote Causes ZWelfare of Certain Groups ZAmerican Legion: vets (police action) ZVeterans of Foreign Wars: Vets ZNAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ZReligious organizations ZNCC: National Council of Churches Zprotestants ZADL: Anti-Defamation League ZJews ZPublic Interest Groups ZUnlike other groups focus on benefiting all Americans ZPublic Good, health

13 All Groups are not Created Equal ZWho is likely to be more successful? ZGun manufacturers or gunshot victims? ZBusiness or Consumers? ZDefense Contractors or Taxpayers? ZWhy? ZMancur Olson’s “Logic of Collective Action” says that: the smaller the group, the more concentrated the benefits of organization, the more likely organization will occur

14 Z Interest Group influence is dominated by for- profit groups at the expense of those that are less easily organized ZOrganizations having Washington representation (%): ZCorporations45.7 ZTrade/other business17.9 ZForeign Commerce/corporations 6.5 ZProfessional Associations6.9 ZUnions1.7 ZCitizen’s Groups4.1 ZCivil Rights/Minority1.3 ZSocial Welfare/Poor0.6

15 PACs in Five Categories

16 Iron/Cozy Triangle ZA close relationship among special interests, congressional committees, and the bureaucracy ZThis community can have very extensive collective power if all 3 sides of the triangle want the same thing ZAre relatively impervious to interference from Congress as a whole, the White House, or the Public

17 The Corn Iron Triangle ZCorn has become a victim or its own success. Yields have become very high. What would you expect to happen to price? ZThe market price is less than the cost of growing the corn. What would you then expect to happen to supply? ZWrong. In order to support the flow of cheap corn, the government gives direct cash subsidies to farmers for the difference between their cost and the market price. How would you expect farmers to respond? ZIncrease production. ZWhy does the government do this? ZVery strong relationship (Iron Triangle) between Congressional Agriculture Committees, Corn Processors (mainly Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill), and the Department of Agriculture

18 The Corn Iron Triangle ZWho benefits from this Iron Triangle? ZFood production is a low profit, small growth business because here are a lot of competitors and limits on how much we can eat. ZBut processed food solves those problems. ZCorn can be processed into a variety of products (i.e. high-fructose corn syrup) which add a lot of value to food processors ZBecause corn is so cheap these products are very inexpensive on a cost/calorie basis so can be offered in very large sizes (supersizes). ZWho suffers from this Iron Triangle? ZUnfortunately, this also great increases our obesity and adds to the malnutrition of countless others in the world whose own agriculture cannot compete with cheap U.S. corn.

19 Military-Industrial Complex ZWhat are the three poles of Eisenhower’s Military-Industrial- Complex Iron Triangle? ZDefense committees, interest groups (military contractors), and the bureaucracy (the military) ZWhat’s the danger of the MIC? ZTradeoff between military spending and domestic social spending

20 Military-Industrial Complex ZPresident Eisenhower warned: Z“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone; it is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children”

21 Military-Industrial Complex ZGreater danger is that we must have some justification for military spending ZOperates best in a climate of fear ZEncourages rather than discourages military intervention ZWhy was the Cold War an ideal context for the Military-Industrial Complex? ZHave we found a replacement for Communism as a perpetual enemy? ZWhat about terrorism?

22 Potential v. Actual Membership of Various Groups ZGroup: Potential Membership ZNat’l Consumer League300,000,000 ZAf’n Am’n: NAACP30,500,000 ZNat’l Taxpayers Union180,000,000 ZPhysicians: AMA620,000 ZU.S. League of S&Ls3,782 ZAir Transport Ass’n60 ZTobacco Institute11 Actual Membership 8, , , ,000 2,


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