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Invisible Muscles

Most people argue that the President of the United States is the most powerful person in the world.  After all, who else can drop more nuclear bombs at the same time?  But, what is the most powerful group of people in the world?  Could it be the U.S. Senate or the House of Representatives or the Supreme Court or, if not, which group?

During the campaign of 2008, candidate Obama promised to do something about loud TV commercials.  After all, the Federal Communications Commission receives more complaints about loud TV commercials than any other complaints.  In 2010, Congress passed the bipartisan but impotent CALM Act or Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation, which became effective in December of 2012.  Did you notice any difference?  Are the commercials on your TV still louder than the shows you watch?  Mine are!

Advertisers are busily advertising that the number of complaints about loud commercials received by the FCC in December of 2013 were only one-seventh the number received in January of 2013.  So, obviously, the CALM Act is doing its job and the problem of loud TV commercials has been fixed  . . . right?

Advertisers somehow forgot to mention that the method of filing complaints became much more difficult and tedious in midyear than before.  Complainers have now become too frustrated with the process to continue complaining.  They have been defeated.

So, who is more powerful — advertisers or lobbyists?  I would argue advertisers are the most powerful industry.  They can convince healthy people to eat unhealthy foods or even smoke deadly cigarettes or borrow money to buy things they don’t need.  That takes real power!  But, I believe lobbyists are more powerful than the President of the United States or the Pope or anybody else.

Despite presidential support, plus overwhelming bipartisan Congressional support, plus overwhelming support from the American people, TV commercials are still louder than the programming.  To add insult to injury, the American people also find it more difficult to complain about those loud commercials now.  Lobbyists defeated the President, the Senate, the House,  . . . and the American people.  Now, that’s power!

Despite many efforts to regulate them, they are more powerful than ever.  Whenever efforts are made to regulate them, they simply hire fellow lobbyists to protect their interests.