Friday, December 30, 2011

Big Business’s Role in Making Legislation - Ugly Facts We Always Knew...
Posted by Greg Webb
December 29, 2011 7:45 AM
We constantly hear corporate mouthpieces, and the politicians they support, complain about burdensome legislation and regulations standing in the way of social and economic advancement (e.g., higher profits). Indeed, the regulation bogeyman is second only to the civil jury in terms of sending CEOs, corporate lobbyists, and business-friendly politicians into a collective state of frothing hysteria.

But there is a great irony in this constant corporate carping about burdensome laws and regulations – many of these laws and regulations are drafted by business. As a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek highlights, there is a market, called the “American Legislative Exchange Council” or “ALEC,” where businesses can get pre-written legislation or regulation that suits their needs, much like you or I would go to Walmart to buy shampoo or batteries. 

Need a bill that makes it harder for your competitor to break into the market? Aisle 6, right between the tort reform and tax breaks. Once in possession of this draft legislation, a company and its lobbyists can shop it to sympathetic legislators. The legislator slaps his or her name on the bottom and that, folks, is how a bill becomes a law in a state near you.

2011: The year that shook the euro
By Emily Thompson and Cat Contiguglia
Eurozone troubles dominate business news as domestic economic slowdown looks likely.

Much of the world was still languishing in an economic malaise when a second crisis - this one European in origin - hit in earnest in 2011. As the year began, there still appeared to be a chance the turmoil that had led to bailouts in Greece and Ireland could be contained, but market fears quickly spread to economies like Portugal, Spain and Italy.

The eurozone crisis has shaken not only the common currency zone, but Europe and the global economy. As an export-driven economy deeply entwined with the eurozone, the Czech Republic felt the shockwaves of crisis early on and in every facet of the economy. Efforts to adjust to a changed global economic system dominated international and domestic headlines as the accompanying roundup of the year's top stories testifies.