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Congress must tighten influence exerted by lobbying

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A recent news article told of the U.S. Congress slightly decreasing its subsidies to the agro industry. It is sad that large agro businesses are still receiving large amounts of money although we are experiencing a $1 trillion annual federal deficit.

The farm bloc spends millions of dollars on lobbying Congress. Corn is subsidized because of the desire to create ethanol, which is said to be less polluting than regular gasoline. I believe we still subsidize tobacco farmers in spite of the warnings on cigarette boxes that it causes cancer and other diseases.

The defense industry carefully built factories in a couple dozen states so many representatives would vote to build all kinds of expensive weapons because it meant jobs in their states. The use of drones seems to be a cheaper and more efficient way to fight a war.

The oil industry spent more than $146 million lobbying Congress last year. ExxonMobil is the top-ranked company in the United States, surpassing Wal-Mart. Can you imagine that Congress is giving oil companies a subsidy, even though they are making profits and our nation is in a deficit from too much spending?

On April 8, The New York Times devoted a full page to the 50 most highly paid chief executives in the United States. Their compensation consists of salary, cash bonuses, perks, stocks and stock options. Many of these companies receive federal subsidies so our tax money pays them.

The CEO of Apple earned $378 million. Earning $20 million to $31 million were the CEOs of Occidental Petroleum, Marathon Oil, Honeywell International, Ford Motor, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Walt Disney, News Corp., Motorola Solutions, Philip Morris, Verizon and Estee Lauder.

GOOD NEWS OF THE WEEK: In 1998, the city hired the Science Applications International Corp. to develop a system to track the timecards and payroll of a couple hundred thousand city workers to prevent the padding of payrolls with overtime so retiring workers could receive large amounts of extra pay when they retire. The original cost of the CityTime system was estimated at $63 million.

As the years went by, the cost swelled to $115 million, then up to $620 million in 2011. They hired consultants and received a kickback of $5 for every hour they worked. Money was hidden in India.

The good news is that after the investigation was over, SAIC agreed to pay the city back $370 million in restitution, $130 million in fines plus not to try to collect $40 million on the completed contract.

ASSAULT WEAPONS KILL MORE PEOPLE AND CHILDREN: There were killings in Colorado and on our city streets.

I do not see why someone needs a weapon which fires nine or 30 bullets in a few seconds. I do not understand why people can just attend a gun show and buy weapons on the spot. I do not understand why people get shot in their apartments or on the street when they are just going about their business doing nothing illegal.

I can understand that some people feel that if we start regulating some assault weapons, then we would be regulating the right of people to bear arms, but something must be done to stop all these killings of innocent people.

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