who makes policy in this country?

I'm on the mailing list for the Organic Consumers Association and usually there's some really interesting stuff in their newsletter. This week they have a list of the top 100 firms that spend the most money lobbying in this country. The amounts are for the first quarter of 2009. Here are the summations by industry:

$42 Million: Health Care, Health Insurance, & Pharma
$31 Million: Oil
$20 Million: War
$17 Million: Telecoms
$15 Million: Financial
$10 Million: Automotive
$7 Million: Life Insurance
$6 Million: Biotech

And the top ten companies:

1. Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A.: $9,996,000
2. Exxon Mobil: $9,320,000
3. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $6,910,000
4. Chevron U.S.A. Inc: $6,800,000
5. Lockheed Martin Corporation: $6,380,000
6. Pfizer, Inc: $6,140,000
7. Conoco Phillips: $5,980,935
8. National Association of Realtors: $5,727,000
9. U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform: $5,480,000
10. AT&T Services, Inc: $5,134,873

Do you still think our government has your best interest? I'm sure if this were to be further divided by Republicans and Democrats receiving these funds it'd be a near even split. See the full list here. Also note that many of these corporations contract out to lobbying firms so the am mounts are greater than this.

Another interesting article from OCA is about "natural" products and how many times it's a marketing ploy and actually undermines the organic foods industry. Retailers like Whole Foods Market and wholesalers like United Natural Foods Inc. push these products with rather than certified organic products. On the topic of Whole Foods, here's an in depth article about their poor labor standards and union busting.

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