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Archive for May 21st, 2008

‘I’ll stand up to those special interests.’ Really? How?

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We are all going to die.

When we do, an industry with 100,000 employees will annually collect about $11 billion in revenue from our survivors, who presumably love us and wish to put us to rest with appropriate pomp and circumstance. Requiescat in pace, although survivors’ wallets might not.

Since 2002, after authorities found the remains of 339 people scattered about the grounds of a Georgia crematorium, the funeral industry has been visited by a wave of regulatory activity in many states. Not surprisingly, the funeral industry, a monopoly in many ways, wishes to influence that regulatory activity. It has also sought to influence drafting and revision of federal regulations, most notably the Federal Trade Commission’s “Funeral Rule.”

According to a richly detailed and footnoted report by Scott Jordan of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, from 1999 to 2006 the industry has coughed up $6 million in political contributions spread over political parties and state-level candidates in 46 states, positioning itself “to have a hand in shaping legislation and regulation” [emphasis added]. Millions more have gone to federal candidates.

This is what lobbyists principally do — act to influence legislation and regulation. And they’re really good at it. Therefore it’s important to take notice when presidential candidates spout rhetoric promising to “curb this industry” and “control that industry.” How will they do that?
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Written by Dr. Denny Wilkins

May 21, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized