In an address to the nation on January 17, 1961, in the middle of nurturing the greatest middle class this world has ever seen, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned,
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
You may have never heard of Dirk Van Dongen. Well, he is the top corporate lobbyist in this military-corporate complex who President Eisenhower warned us about. Here is a statement from TIMELINE: WHO STOLE THE AMERICAN DREAM about this ONE%er:
May 2003 — At a White House ceremony, President Bush thanks “my friend Dirk Van Dongen” for helping to move the Bush tax cuts through Congress. Unknown to most Americans, Van Dongen is a Washington insider, field marshal of the “Gang of Six” — the six major business organizations that anchor the Tax Relief Coalition that lobbied for tax cuts.
He was not only crucial to getting the initial Bush tax cuts signed into law but he, and his Gang of Six, worked hard in 2010 to force the extension of those tax cuts.
In a September 2005 Bloomberg article, the authors summarized the relationship between Bush and corporate lobbyists:
Since George W. Bush became president in January 2001, it hasn’t been unusual for top-ranking U.S. lawmakers and 59-year-old Bush himself to turn to trade group lobbyists for advice in making legislative decisions. The industry associations have staged successful battles ranging from new laws cutting individual income taxes to reducing tariffs in international trade agreements.
This article described Van Dongen’s Gang of Six in this way:
The groups represent companies that employ more than 22 million people and generate at least $5.2 trillion in goods and services, or almost half of U.S. gross domestic product. If the Gang of Six were a country, it would constitute the world’s second biggest economy, eclipsing Japan’s $4.7 trillion GDP.
The Gang of Six is also referred to as the Tax Relief Coalition. In another Bloomberg article from 2010, the authors quantified the money being invested by these corporate lobbyists to keep the Bush tax cuts in place:
The Tax Relief Coalition brings money to the fight. The management committee groups have spent $3.8 million since Jan. 1, 2009, on candidates and advertising. The Chamber alone plans to spend $75 million on the Nov. 2 elections.
No doubt, Dongen and his team of 1.8 million over paid CEOs are out there right now pushing to keep these cuts in place and promote legislation to further increase their power and wealth. And re-electing President Obama, adding two more Democrat Senators, and dumping a few Tea Party wackos from Congress is not enough to stop this powerful lobbying.
We the people need to lobby hard. There are more of us and we need to speak up.
“I can only do it with the help of the American people,” President Obama said. “Do what it takes to communicate a sense of urgency. We don’t have a lot of time here. We’ve got a few weeks to get this thing done. … Tweet #my2k”