The worse the violence get, the more people want a gun to protect themselves, the more gun sales rise, the happier the NRA and its corporate donors. The bad news for those of us caught in the crossfire is that the NRA uses hardball tactics to punish any lawmaker who even suggests changing that dynamic. But while we wring our hands about the intransigence of the NRA, maybe we should instead thank these thugs for being obvious enough to give away a larger game.
A look at the following comparison shows the relative economic power of the gun industry compared to banking and energy:
- $6 billion – U.S. Gun Industry annual INCOME
- $773 billion – U.S. Banking Industry annual INCOME
- $1.6 trillion – Global Oil Industry annlual PROFITS
If you think the NRA can twist arms in Congress, can you imagine the immense power of the banking and energy industries? The NRA uses strongarm tactics to get its way, throwing insane amounts of money into defeating any legislators who propose or support gun control. Meanwhile the banking and energy industries exert an even greater influence by adding the carrot to the stick of a good job on the other side of the revolving door at the intersection of the public and private spheres.
Play ball, and you will be rewarded. Push back, and we’ll crush you like a bug. TARP regulator Neil Barofsky, author of the new book Bailout, was told that if he didn’t “moderate” his tone, he would do real damage to himself – but if he was willing to stop blowing the whistle, he could be a judge.
Much of the corruption isn’t quite that blatant. It need not be to be effective. Just as it pays to smile at the boss at your office, instead of rolling your eyes and telling him he’s corrupt, both elected officials and government employees soon learn how the game is played.
So when our children question why we allowed our leaders to fiddle away our money while the planet burned from fossil fuels, perhaps you can begin by explaining that we couldn’t even muster the political will to ban assault rifles. We were too busy going to the latest screening of The Dark Knight to care.