February 2, 2009
Petaluma, Calif. – President Barack Obama's latest economic stimulus plan may have been heavily influenced by powerful corporate lobbying.
Some of President Obama's earlier campaign promises that would have directed hundreds of billions of dollars back into the middle class economy may have been killed by an intensive and well-financed lobbying campaign backed by some of our nation’s largest corporations.
President Obama campaigned for two years on a promise to institute a windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry. The proceeds from the tax would have stimulated the economy by providing a $1000 energy rebate to American families. No additional federal funds would have been expended.
Just two days after the election, on November 6, the windfall profits tax on the oil and gas industry was the number one issue under the Economy section of President Obama's change.gov website. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/Economy_Change.pdf) On November 8th, the windfall profits tax abruptly disappeared with no justification or explanation from President Obama.( http://change.gov/agenda/economy_agenda/)
Proponents of the windfall profits tax believe the sudden and unexplained removal of the plan was prompted by an aggressive and expensive lobbying campaign by the oil and gas industry.
In February of 2008, President Obama responded to pleas from small business groups to address Bush Administration policies that had allowed the diversion of up to $100 billion a year in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and other large businesses.
Since 2003, more than 15 federal investigations have confirmed Bush officials diverted billions of dollars in federal contracts intended for small business to many of the nation's largest corporations. (http://www.asbl.com/documentlibrary.html)
Obama responded with the statement, "Small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy and we must protect this great resource. It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants." (http://www.barackobama.com/2008/02/26/the_american_small_business_le.php)
Days later, the Obama camp modified their website to make it appear as if President Obama had never made the statement. (http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/sbhome/) Additionally, just days before the election President Obama dropped a plan drafted by his small business advisory panel that would have created millions of jobs by redirecting up to $100 billion a year in federal small business contracts back to middle class. (http://www.asbl.com/documents/BOsmallbusinesspolicy.pdf)
To date, President Obama has offered no explanation for dropping his campaign promise to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants, or any policies to address the problem.
Small business advocates believe a well funded lobbying campaign by the defense and aerospace giants that are currently receiving the majority of federal small business contracts could explain President Obama's handling of the issue.