Lobbying, Campaign Contributions Partly Responsible for Growing Wealth Gap

PBS: “Twenty percent of Forbes’ 2014 billionaires had some stake in the financial and insurance sectors, with the richest 10 possessing familiar names like Buffett, Soros and Bloomberg. More campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties come from the financial sector than any other source, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And with American finance billionaires experiencing a one-year wealth increase of 17 percent, they’ve had money to spend.

“The financial sector spent $400 million on lobbying in the United States, and another estimated $150 million in the European Union in 2013. In the last U.S. presidential election year, the industry spent $571 million.

“But the billionaires who saw the greatest increase in wealth were those with “interests and activities” in the pharmaceutical and health care sectors. They’re not the household names their elite cousins in finance are, but with a 47 percent collective wealth increase between 2013 and 2014, and health care at the center of America’s political debate, they’ve had significant clout.

“The pharmaceutical and health care sectors spent more on lobbying in 2013 than any other sector in the U.S., dishing out more than $487 million. Their influence has been felt in Europe, too, where these sectors spend an estimated $50 million each year.”

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