Intersection of economics and politics: a look at the “Big Three”
The American auto industry—led by Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors—has been the target of much criticism for lobbying against National Ambient Air Quality (NAAQ) emissions standards of the Clean Air Act, for lowering Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards promulgated by the NHTSA, for resisting more stringent auto safety standards, for exploiting economic downturns and the anxieties of policy-makers to prioritize job growth and economic recovery, for relying on and shaping the terms of government bailouts, for benefiting from the government’s seizure of private property through Eminent Domain, and so forth.
Briefly explain one example in which one of the “Big Three” has exerted its economic power to influence politicians in Washington and shape public policies or foreign policies favorable to their particular corporate interests. The following are some questions that should guide your response: (a) what were the stated goals of the executives of the particular corporation you choose, (b) what policy alternatives would the company have been willing to accept, (c) what was the final result (what policy alternative was chosen), (d) how was the company able to influence policy-makers, and (e) what were or are the ramifications of the chosen policy to average Americans?
After briefly discussing these specifics, the bulk of your response should explain whether the ability of powerful corporations like Chrysler or Ford or GM to influence the public policy process is a problem. If so, then why should we be concerned about, and how might we effectively prevent, this intersection between economics and politics? If not, then why isn’t this intersection a concern—how do the benefits of the influence of corporate special interests outweigh the costs?