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Interest Groups How They Do Business. What if Firefighters Ran the World? Sprint Commercial What comment is this commercial making about how government.

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Presentation on theme: "Interest Groups How They Do Business. What if Firefighters Ran the World? Sprint Commercial What comment is this commercial making about how government."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interest Groups How They Do Business

2 What if Firefighters Ran the World? Sprint Commercial What comment is this commercial making about how government works?

3 The interest in corn Ethanol Producers Food Companies Feed Producers Soda Producers Genetics Corporations Pesticide Companies Insecticide Companies FarmersGrocers Consumer Groups

4 OGHg&feature=related OGHg&feature=related live/video/corn-syrup-commercial/1313759 live/video/corn-syrup-commercial/1313759

5 Interests in cars Labor Union (UAW) Parts Oil and Gas GPS, Gadget Parking Used Car Sales Clean Cars Banks Corn, Ethanol Consumers Road Construction Exporters Importers


7 Assignment: Choose one, brainstorm all the interests


9 What is an interest group? An organization that actively seeks to influence public policy

10 How do interest groups differ from parties? Parties seek to win elections Interest groups seek to influence policy But both are linkage institutions (they link people to the government)

11 What are the trends? Groups that have economic interests tend to be better organized than noneconomic groups; thus they often have more power Lobbying and electioneering are the main ways in which interest groups access political leaders Interest groups represent myriad interests, but are over-represented by business interests


13 Why are economic groups significant? Most effective, best organized Goals are primarily economic in nature Profit Protect jobs/industry/markets/raw materials Improve pay Outnumber all other groups more than 2 to 1


15 Business/Corporate Interests Big Oil US Chamber of Commerce National Association of Home Builders

16 Labor Interests AFL-CIO Sheet metal workers NEA Labor union membership has dropped off significantly over time

17 Farming Family Farms? Or Agribusiness?

18 Professional AMA ADA ABA AAUP


20 What is significant about citizen’s groups? Their interests may not be economic in nature, rather they have a “worthy goal” Protect the environment Protect prayer Feed the homeless Kittens?


22 Social Groups NAACP NOW La Raza

23 Political Ideology Promotion American Conservative Union Americans for Democratic Action Christian Coalition

24 Single Issue Groups NRA Right to Life groups Pro-Choice groups

25 Environmental Sierra Club Greenpeace Audubon Society

26 WHY? Generally speaking, economic interest groups have more advantages and are more successful than citizens’ interest groups.

27 Economic groups have the edge: They have deeper pockets They don’t have to rely on donations They offer economic incentives Higher profits/higher salaries/better working conditions They are smaller and less diverse in their policy goals Think the “big three” American auto makers So, will the 99% ever prevail?

28 Case study: AARP Largest, most powerful lobbyist arm in DC Why? Medicare & Social Security = 40+% of the national budget Citizen’s group that is in the top 20 in terms of expenditures on lobbying; all others are business groups

29 Interest Groups Make policy related appeals to government Enhance Democracy Represent the Evils of Faction Have Economic Interests Need Money, Leadership and Members Have an upper class bias Respond to political changes

30 Enhancing Democracy Groups educate members about issues Mobilize members Monitor government behavior Lobby Congress and the Executive Branch Engage in litigation (use the courts)

31 Represent the “Evils of Faction” Madison feared the power of interests forsaking the public good But had to balance that fear against suppressing the freedom to organize Competition of interests will produce balance of compromise (known now as pluralism) But not all interests are “created equal.” Those who are more organized and more resourceful are better at influencing policy

32 Interests are predominately economic Producers/Manufacturers National Petrochemical Refiners Labor AFL-CIO Professional Lobbies AMA, ADA, ABA Public interests – mostly consumer protection and environmentalism Natural Resources Defense Council, Common Cause

33 All Groups Need Money, Leadership, and Members Example: AARP Policies: Social Security Medicare Benefits: Insurance Discounts Organization: Dues, Structure, Offices

34 The Upper Class Bias Increased political efficacy Higher income levels Higher education levels Time and money to spare

35 Groups Respond to Changes in Politics Great proliferation in the last forty years Stimulated by new laws, court decisions, and election financing laws Roe v. Wade, Campaign Finance, Civil Rights Public interest groups have grown Common Cause, Sierra Club, EDF Direct Mail Computerized databases Internet/email

36 Your Homework Choose either: Pharmaceuticals Fish iPods/ Cell Phones Salt Make a diagram showing all the interests in your choice

37 American Farm Bureau “We Are Farm Bureau” Their purpose: making farming more profitable

38 AFB: Policy Positions Disaster Relief: Supports: more assistance for farmers that suffer economically from natural disasters Immigration: Supports legal labor programs

39 Policy Influence Energy Supports – renewable energy initiatives Opposes cap and trade Federal Clean Water Act Opposes – because the bill would regulate farming and control runoff into ditches, gullies, and culverts

40 Benefits Economic Banking Insurance Social Food Check Out Week Celebrates the abundance and safety of food (and farmers!) 37 working days to pay for a year of food 77 for income taxes

41 Allies and Enemies Allies: United Farm Workers of America spx spx America’s Heartland Enemies: Animal Rights Activists Consumer Rights Activists year of plentyyear of plenty

42 Policy Influence Legislative Branch Writing letters, grassroots organization, e- lists, litigation Voting Records Colorado Farm Bureau

43 Dollars and Cents p?ind=A

44 Voting Records Obama p?can_id=9490&type=category&category=4 &go.x=14&go.y=17 p?can_id=9490&type=category&category=4 &go.x=14&go.y=17 McCain p?can_id=53270&type=category&category=4 &go.x=7&go.y=10 p?can_id=53270&type=category&category=4 &go.x=7&go.y=10

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