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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

BIG Numbers

Feb 8th, 2011

America's registered lobbyists spent 3.47 billion dollars last year trying to get what they want for their patrons. To be fair, the previous year's figure was slightly higher making 2010 the first time the number has dropped in over a decade. The reduction is of little consequence as the 2009 number was still almost 2.5 times the 1998 total of 1.44 billion dollars.

It occurred to me that these numbers could use a human face. There are 7,382 state level senators and representatives in the U.S. When added to the 535 at the federal level, the total number of the men and women who most directly influence our lives and administer our tax-borne resources, for better or worse, comes to 7,917.

For the sake of argument, let's imagine that last year's reported lobbyist spending was actually distributed evenly between them. That would come to roughly $429,455 for each.

Did you give close to half a million dollars to any elected official last year? Do you feel that you have access to your representatives? How's that working out for you?

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