Research Paper Sample
Research Paper Sample
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Sample Research Paper
A more significant political implication is pointed to by those critics who fear the creation of political pressure groups demanding ever larger public gratuities and supporting only those elected representatives who promise substantial benefits. No one familiar with American economic history can fail to recognize the importance of this possibility. Pressure groups have a long precedent of successful operation in this country. Raids on the pocketbook of John Public are merely increasing in frequency and in variety. The tariff lobby, as many are fond of pointing out, tapped the American consumer for untold billions over a period of time by the subtle but no less real method of imposing a private levy through increased prices. The political pressures exerted by the beneficiaries are generally known and understood. A more direct pressure has long been exerted by veterans' organizations, and the results are more obvious. Similar techniques are now used by the unemployed, by the aged, by farmers. In the nature of the case, a group with nothing to sell cannot obtain benefits in disguised form; consequently the result of political pressure is a raid on the Treasury. Direct action of this sort provokes more resentment than the more discreet method of extracting hidden benefits, cloaked with the mantle of business respectability.
The purpose of any economic pressure group, by and large, is to get financial benefits. Whenever possible, government is used as the means of accomplishing this purpose. But does government spending necessarily alter the situation? True, the unemployed, the aged, the farmers, the building contractors are pressure groups. In all cases, however, they exerted pressure before government expenditures were made in their behalf. In response to this pressure, government instituted policies, among them the spending policy. Basically, the pressure arises from particular economic difficulties--loss of jobs, insecurity in old age, low farm prices, loss of income. Spending is only one means of catering to the interests of the groups in question. To criticize pressure groups for making demands, and government for acceding, belies a naivete in the ways of practical politics in a democratic state. Criticism of this sort misses its mark as long as the conditions prompting the demands persist. In short, relatively full employment and general prosperity would reduce much of the pressure and much of the spending. But not all. Even with this happy state some groups would not benefit directly and pressure for, say, old age relief would continue. And, if general prosperity remains elusive, the existence of pressure groups demanding public funds will assure a flow of income essential to economic activity.