Pretend that you belong to a political party that has traditionally been "for" the working class, the small guy, pro-environment and against Big Business.
Imagine, if you will, that the cost of running for office has ballooned out of all proportion and that your party must get new sources of massive funds, but the largest traditional source – union dues – is simply too small.
Believe, if you will, that the opposition party traditionally gets it’s funds from Big Businesses, but the economy is souring – as are the donation to that party from those same Big Businesses. One of those very Big Business just happens to be Big Oil.
Now, say, you are the head of the EPA. When the economy picks up, then funds from Big Oil will go again to the opposition. What do you do?
How can you, as head of the EPA get Big Oil to give you large donations, while appearing that you are protecting the environment from pollution?
Well, you could encourage various field offices to approach local party politicians and allied groups to lobby for specially formulated fuels in those areas which would lessen vehicle fuel emissions.
With these new fuel formulations in place, you, as head for the EPA, go to Big Oil and – through regulations – force a ceiling on the amounts of pollutants the refineries may emit. It just so "happens" that these same soon-to-be curtailed emissions are also created by making these new fuel formulations.
The media immediately publishes stories on your regulations which are "protecting" the environment. Donations to your party – from people who are pro-environment – increase.
Big Oil screams about increased costs of new equipment needed to make these new formulations and declares it must raise prices.
But since Big Oil has many refineries spread out all over the country, it cannot produce a lot of this new and expensive fuel and still meet the new EPA guide lines. Thus, since the supply is limited and the demand is high, Big Oil has to raise prices once again.
Big Oil now begins to record profits, rising considerably each quarter.
People begin to complain about the high price of fuel.
Big Oil reports that it’s refineries are running at "capacity."
Donations to your party from Big Oil begin to increase, while donations to the opposition party do not, or are not as large as they could be.
Of course the hue and cry is for "someone to do something."
Your party rallies, claiming it has protected the environment, and that the opposition party is to blame for environment degradation, since it wants to increase production.
Your party forces passage of legislation which mandates "price caps" to provide price-relief to the public.
The media "fails" to tell the public that corporate-owned gas stations will immediately raise their retail prices to the maximum which the price cap allows, while buying at low spot prices – thus making lots of money, some of which will be donated to your party.
The media "fails" again to tell the public that while Big Oil is running it’s refineries at "capacity," the yard stick is not how much fuel the plants can turn out physically which determines "capacity," but the regulations your EPA promulgated which determines "capacity."
Donations pour in – donations which your party uses to keep its members in office and to expand their numbers.
Meanwhile your party – with the help of certain "renegade" members of the opposition – manages to pass a bill which limits the ability of the public to speak against incumbent politicians.
Does any of this sound familiar? Hummmm?
–PIF – 5/15/2000