What a fine example of thread drift. It is more interesting here than at the start.
Stan, you're absolutely correct. Lobbying needs to be reformed or dare I say it, REMOVED from existince.
Ed, keep writing, my friend.
I've enjoyed this thread immensely as well, Michael.
Some very good points made on this thread. I have never worked for a union so I really don't have much of an opinion on the matter. Not that I don't see the benefits, both past and present of having unions; only that I have see the crushing costs of running a business in a price-competitive market and I cannot imagine having even more costs piled on. It's easy to say a large corporation has the money and should distribute more of it to their workers. It is completely different when you own a small business.
I would venture a guess that I lean more libertarian that all/most of you. I agree with Stan and Danny's comments about the the money in politics and I further agree about making government "Public Service" again. I am sadly not very hopeful that we will ever see the day when we return to it. The people who make those decisions are the very ones who directly benefit from it. I don't really know if I would ever be so virtuous that I would vote against my own best interests (no raises/term limits) for the betterment of the country but I am pretty certain that no one in Washington D.C. or any of our state capitals ever would.
Like what Stan (and I think Ed) said, regulations as an idea is good but what we always seem to get is a benefit for the rich and large corporations that small-businesses have to shoulder. I could say the same for much of the legislation we get, the tax laws, etc. We either get something with loopholes or something written by those impacted, so they are exempted.
The Citizens United thing really bothers me. I'd have no issue with "money being free speech" and corporations with the rights of free speech as long as corporations also were subject to the same laws citizens are. Take your free speech but if your company/product kills someone, murder charges all around!!
You guys mentioned liability.... My company had a pretty flawless record for the better part of a decade. Our employees were employed by us but were supervised by our customers. We had someone get hurt pretty badly on someone else's worksite but the cost of that, something we had no control over, came close to crippling the company. It's scary stuff.