What Is the Price of Legislative Happiness for People With Disabilities in The USA?
Author: Pavel Kuljuk - Contact: Contact Details
Published: 2023/12/27 - Updated: 2024/01/27
Publication Type: Opinion Piece / Editorial - Peer-Reviewed: N/A
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications
Synopsis: Improving the political rights of people with disabilities in the United States is not a street revolution, but an evolution of legislation. Having money to lobby is only half the battle. If the required amount is collected, this does not mean that there will be a victory. After all, the adoption of a federal law simplifying voting for people with disabilities and/or electing people with disabilities to elected positions can complicate the economic activity of entire sectors of the economy.
The cost of lobbying for federal disability laws can range "from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars". Disabled people can raise this money. But this does not guarantee victory in the war of money! Because opponents of the laws can raise even more money for counter-lobbying.
Lobbying is a Way Out of a Deadlock Situation
Improving the political rights of people with disabilities in the United States is not a street revolution, but an evolution of legislation. However, this evolution is hampered by a couple of problems. The first problem is that people with disabilities cannot make the laws they need on their own. This is because people with disabilities are disproportionately represented in elected office.
As we found out earlier:
"Disabled people make up 15.7% of the country's adult population. However, persons with disabilities occupy only 10.3% of all elected positions This is 5.4% less than their share in the total adult population. At the same time, at the state and federal levels, people with disabilities hold only 6.9% and 6.3% of elected positions. That is two times less than the total proportion of people with disabilities in the US population. Overall, people with disabilities hold 3,793 of the 36,779 elected positions in the United States." (1)
The second problem is that legislators who are not disabled cannot provide effective assistance to disabled people at the federal level in adopting laws that disabled people need. This is hampered by the political struggle between the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States. Only the combined efforts of these two political parties can improve the situation. However, according to political consultants, this is not possible in the near future. (2)
As a result, disabled people cannot help themselves. Disabled people cannot rely on outside help. But disabled people would not be disabled if they gave up. There is always a third option. And that option could be money! Money allows people with disabilities to turn on the mechanism of lobbying for the adoption of necessary laws at the federal level. Lobbying is a legal activity in the United States. The demand for this service is constantly growing. This proves the effectiveness of lobbying. In 1998, $1.45 billion was spent on lobbying services in the United States. In 2022, lobbying expenses amounted to $4.09 billion! (3)
In the current situation, lobbying is a natural way to solve the problem. The necessary laws can be passed without increasing the proportion of people with disabilities in elected office and without bringing Republicans and Democrats into a political alliance. Nothing personal just business! Disabled people can use lobbying services.
What Is the Price of Legal Happiness for Disabled People in The USA?
About the possible cost of lobbying said political consultants.
All of them were asked one question:
How much could it cost to lobby for the adoption of a federal law in the interests of people with disabilities?
"There's not a good way to answer that question without more details of the legislation. How a bill is worded, even if just a few words different from another version of a bill, could mean drastic changes in how much would need to be spent to lobby for the passage of a bill, and whether or not a bill would have a good chance of passing or not",- said CEO and Founder, Capitol City Research Willis Jones.
"The cost would depend on various factors such as the complexities and scope of the proposed law, the level of opposition and resistance, the resources and strategies employed by the lobbying firm, and the duration of the lobbying effort."
"Generally, lobbying efforts at the federal level can be quite expensive, and estimates can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Larger lobbying firms with extensive networks and resources may charge higher fees for their services. Also, the costs of organizing a grassroots advocacy campaign, mobilizing community support, and conducting research and outreach contribute to the overall cost."
"It's important to note that the actual cost can only be determined after detailed discussions and analysis of the specific circumstances surrounding the proposed law and the lobbying effort. Consulting with a professional lobbying firm or advocacy organization would get a more accurate estimate based on this unique situation.",- said Policy and Law Strategist, Sabrina Newby.
As we can see, it is very difficult to determine the cost of lobbying without a specific law. However, experts admit that prices can reach "from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars". This is not a small amount. But this money is available to disabled people in the United States. For example, in 2012, the United Spinal Association alone spent $330,000 on lobbying services. (4) Other disability organizations spend tens of thousands of dollars annually on lobbying services. (5) That is, by joining forces, the US disability community can raise millions of dollars to lobby for the necessary federal law.
The Hidden Problem That Hinders Lobbying
Having money to lobby is only half the battle. If the required amount is collected, this does not mean that there will be a victory. After all, the adoption of a federal law simplifying voting for people with disabilities and/or electing people with disabilities to elected positions can complicate the economic activity of entire sectors of the economy. Since this will require additional costs from many companies and organizations to comply with this law. For example, the Americans With Disabilities Act adopted in 1990 (6) cost the telecommunications industry $300 million a year and the private bus industry $200 million a year. (7)
Such large financial losses force commercial structures to do counter-lobbying, which prevents the adoption of laws that cause problems. US history shows that people with disabilities have less money for lobbying than businesses. Businesses spend much more money on lobbying their interests than people with disabilities.
That is, the success of people with disabilities lobbying for the necessary law largely depends not on money, but on the actions of the business community. Is American business willing to bear financial losses for the convenience of people with disabilities? This is the main question. When Americans With Disabilities Act was adopted by representatives of the telecommunications industry and bus owners did not interfere with this. However, no one knows how business will behave when the new law is adopted.
Lobbying makes sense if the business community positively perceives the change in legislation. To find out this it is necessary to conduct sociological research. It is also necessary to unite the efforts of organizations of disabled people on a federal scale for lobbying. That is, we are talking about the biggest project which will have to be implemented by disabled people after 2000. If this project is implemented, it will only be after the presidential elections in 2024.
Related Information by Pavel Kuljuk:
- What's New for Americans with Disabilities in 2024?
- Equality Amendments Could Increase the Political Influence of the Disabled
- What Is the Price of Legislative Happiness for People With Disabilities in The USA?
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Cite This Page (APA): Pavel Kuljuk. (2023, December 27). What Is the Price of Legislative Happiness for People With Disabilities in The USA?. Disabled World. Retrieved February 21, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/editorials/political/legislative-happiness.php
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