Groups like the CRFB and the Concord Coalition, founded by former Congress members in the 1980s and ’90s, have long presented themselves as nonpartisan, penny-pinching critics of wasteful government spending, when really they are anti-government, pro-corporate ideologues whose boards are filled with K Street lobbyists and financial executives. The goal of much of the austerity class is to see government funds redirected to the private sector. (Their ideology, which accepts the accumulation of private debt but opposes government debt, explains why the austerity class ignored the massive housing and credit bubble, which more than any single factor contributed to an explosion of debt worldwide.)(emphasis added)
Read the whole article How the Austerity Class Rules Washington by Ari Berman at The Nation
It's the economic rent, stupid.
Berman has a one-two punch in this issue. See also Occupy Wall Street Hits K Street by Ari Berman at The Nation
If you want to understand how the top 1 percent have accumulated such power in American politics, look no further than Washington’s K Street lobbying corridor. Wall Street has long been the dominant player in the capital. “The banks,” Senator Dick Durbin said in 2009, “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they frankly own the place.”The financial sector has spent more money on campaign contributions and lobbying than any other sector of the economy—$4.6 billion on lobbying since 1998, according to Open Secrets. This year, commercial banks andsecurities and investment firms have spent over $82 million on lobbying, employing over 1,000 lobbyists.Given these facts, it makes sense that the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to K Street. Since October 1, demonstrators have gathered in MacPherson Square, their numbers and visibility growing in recent days....
A lot of this post is about Harvard professor Larry Lessig, "one of the pre-eminent advocates of true campaign finance reform."
“Forget the 99 percent,” Lessig said yesterday. “We are the 99.95 percent of people who have never maxed out in a Congressional election campaign by giving the maximum amount. It is .05 percent of America who have given $2500 in the last election to a Congressional candidate, .05 percent, and Congress listens to them.”