In my days as a computer programmer, I could never have imagined the extent of lobbying and money that drives our government. Like most people, I thought that the business of lobbying consisted of people with contacts to politicians who sold access to others in order to push for legislation.
As I became involved in fighting Big Tech’s efforts to displace Americans, my eyes were opened to the breadth of the lobbying industry.
Lobbying also includes funneling money to politicians, their families, and their favorite charities. The methods lobbyists have developed to transfer money to politicians have become so numerous that it would take a series of books to cover.
The tech industry’s lobbying efforts include sending millions of dollars each year to faux civil rights groups — and lo and behold, nearly any group that opposes the tech industry’s search for more cheap foreign labor ends up on the donees’ “hate group” lists.
Lobbyists also package news stories for reporters. Such a package will include the “facts” to report, “experts” to quote, and a subject to photograph. The reporter need only recite material to create a “news” article that requires little effort. Lobbyists generate nearly identical articles on H-1B appearing across the country, where the only major differences are the local immigration attorney quoted and the local H-1B worker photographed.
Yet another facet of lobbying is to pay for “studies” that present irreproducible results to advance a legislative agenda. The economics textbook I have has a chapter on the law of supply and demand. As an example, it describes how increasing the labor supply depresses wages. In the face of this basic principle of economics, one can find “studies” from the same handful of authors that find more H-1B workers increase wages. There are never statements explaining who funded that research.
There is a widely cited study that claims each H-1B worker creates 1.83 jobs, but that result was achieved by tweaking the date range of the data used. Change the date range and the same study would have shown each H-1B destroys additional jobs.
Such “studies” end up being cited in both the press and in legal briefs.
This week we got a news report describing the pay-for-study racket, this time at the Cato Institute. An article on the scheme describes payments from Immigration Voice to a Cato author. It also includes allegations that Cato has been taking money from fwd.us and Facebook to promote their cheap foreign labor agenda. Furthermore, the article points out that this is not the first time the Cato Institute has been caught being paid to write by lobbyists.
Such scandals tarnish the credibility of all of us who do studies and write on political issues.
I remember the days when CNN was considered a respectable news outlet. Back then, when their reporters contacted me about my studies, they always asked about the funding and did fact-checking of the results. The Cato Institute scandal provides more evidence that the America media needs to check up on their sources before mindlessly quoting from them.