Cover image for Is that a politician in your pocket? : Washington on $2 million a day
Is that a politician in your pocket? : Washington on $2 million a day
Sifry, Micah L.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, [2004]

Physical Description:
xi, 227 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
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Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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JK1118 .S573 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"Get rich quick! Read this book and learn how to invest in politicians for fun and profit! Just don't leave this book where any regular voters can read it!"
-Arianna Huffington, author of Pigs at the Trough

Every day corporations and other wealthy special interests pump another $2 million into the coffers of our elected officials in Washington and their party committees. For their money they get an estimated $160 billion a year in tax breaks, subsidies, and other sweet deals. That's $160 billion lifted from taxpayers' pockets-or about $1,500 per taxpayer per year! But that's not the worst of it. Their money also buys them the opportunity to shape public policy to suit their bottom lines. And the cost we pay for that is much dearer. Blending satirical bite with mountains of eye-opening research, this rollicking call to arms breaks the issue into manageable, kitchen-table topics and makes it accessible with graphs, tables, sidebars, quizzes, and fascinating factoids.

"Sifry and Watzman lay it all out with no bark on it in this devastatingly straight-forward book-the overt corruption of our country through what we politely call 'the campaign finance system.' Legalized bribery is the root of our political rot and few people know more about how to fix it and have done more to fix it than the good folks at Public Campaign."
-Molly Ivins, author of Bushwhacked

"Sifry and Watzman are two of the most astute observers of political influence in this country. Their important new book names names and cuts through the bull about the issues that affect our daily lives, in a wonderfully amusing but drop-dead accurate way!"
-Charles Lewis, author of The Buying of the President 2004

Author Notes

Nancy Watzman is Research and Investigative Projects Director at Public Campaign.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

An e-mail newsletter called "OUCH! How Money in Politics Hurts You" forms the backbone of this predictable but solid expos? of campaign finance. Sifrey and Watzman, staffers at Public Campaign, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, present materials distributed over the past six years by the group that detail how corporations, wealthy individuals and other "special interests" drive politics through targeted campaign contributions to both parties. Chapters cover pharmaceuticals, gun control, agribusiness, oil and chemical corporations and cable. Recurring graphs distinguish between money allotted to Democrats and Republicans on particular issues and show the financial responses, sometimes punitive and sometimes compensatory, toward elected officials who vote certain ways on certain issues. While the authors have all the elements of an argument for campaign finance reform in place, its seams show, perhaps due to the "mad rush to produce this book." The impressively clear statistics and delineation of specifics never quite gel into a unified critique. Agent, Kim Witherspoon at Witherspoon Associates. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Primer / The Basics: Who's Buying Whom: How Money in Politics Really Worksp. 5
Part 1 Our Pockets Are Being Pickedp. 23
Chapter 1 Prescription Drugs: Rx: Rip-off--How Big Pharma Stays on Topp. 24
Chapter 2 Minimum Wage: Nickel and Dimed by Congressp. 33
Chapter 3 Cable TV: Monopoly Is So Much Funp. 40
Chapter 4 Banking Deregulation: When Big Banks Happen to Little People (Part 1)p. 45
Chapter 5 Corporate Fraud: How Congress Unleashed the Lootersp. 53
Part 2 Our Health Is Being Endangeredp. 63
Chapter 6 Health Care Reform: The Incredible Shrinking Health Care Debatep. 64
Chapter 7 Drug Safety: Who Watches the Watchdogs?p. 70
Chapter 8 Tobacco Policy: When Is a Drug Not a Drug?p. 80
Chapter 9 Food Safety: Not Anybody's Idea of a "Happy Meal"p. 84
Chapter 10 Pesticides and Food: Dare Your Kid Eat a Peach?p. 92
Part 3 Our Environment Is Being Despoiledp. 99
Chapter 11 Energy Policy: The Secret Life of Dick Cheneyp. 100
Chapter 12 Air Pollution: Why Johnny Can't Breathep. 109
Chapter 13 Superfund: Return of the Toxic Avoidersp. 115
Chapter 14 Fuel Inefficiency: Rigged Contest: Hummer versus Hybridp. 120
Part 4 Our Safety Is Being Jeopardizedp. 127
Chapter 15 Homeland Insecurity: The Homegrown Chemical Weapons Threatp. 128
Chapter 16 Gun Politics: Of Killer Pens and AK-47sp. 136
Chapter 17 Workplace Injuries: How Long Can You "Study" a Problem Before It Goes Away?p. 142
Part 5 Our Rights Are Being Abridgedp. 149
Chapter 18 Law and Order: Pardon You? It Dependsp. 150
Chapter 19 Privacy and Predatory Lending: When Big Banks Happen to Little People (Part 2)p. 156
Chapter 20 Bankruptcy Deform: There Are Some Things Money Can Just Keep Trying to Buyp. 162
Part 6 Our Treasury Is Being Plunderedp. 169
Chapter 21 Tax Fairness: The Rich Get Richer ... and the Poor Get Auditedp. 170
Chapter 22 Return on Investment: Corporate Welfare, Land-grab Stylep. 180
Chapter 23 Agriculture Subsidies: The Farmer in the Tillp. 189
Chapter 24 Bailouts and Boondoggles: Homeland Security or Profit Security?p. 195
Chapter 25 Media Democracy: All the News That's Fit to Omitp. 205
Conclusion: What Is to Be Done?p. 211
Indexp. 217