July 19, 2024
The pilot fish is sometimes used as a metaphor or simile; “they are like the pilot fish to the shark, serving to lead him to his victim”.[33] Pilot fish are also used as a metaphor or simile for scavengers or looters which accompany a greater threat (Wikipedia)

‘Those Who Pursue Self-Interest Through Politics’

Two short years ago I invoked the words of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, who observed, “Government is itself an art, one of the subtlest of the arts. It is neither business, nor technology, nor applied science. It is the art of making men live together in peace and with reasonable happiness.”

As we enter the rough and tumble political cycle of a presidential election year, one is compelled to consider Justice Frankfurter’s insight while examining today’s Beltway “pilot fish.” This is the industry that makes billions of dollars as lobbyists, consultants, advisors and political influencers seeking access to the Biden Administration along with the myriad of federal agencies that currently direct our lives.

It is not a new business sector. Justice Frankfurter long ago recognized them as “those who pursue self-interest through politics.” But they have become far more powerful, far more influential, and part of a revolving career door in the nation’s capital that sees many of these consultants enjoy a unique and intimate relationship with those in government.

Should we seek to put a dollar figure on the pursuit of self-interest through politics, consider how much was spent on Washington lobbying last year. According to one watchdog group, during each quarter of 2023, the spending on federal lobbying was over $1 billion. That’s one billion dollars every four months. The mind staggers at that amount and what it hopes to accomplish.

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