Or am I just too naive?
What they want is maximum power/profit.
And it's not politicians --those are mostly puppets.
America is/is becoming a corporate state, and corporatism was the very essence of Mussolini's fascism.
The very notion of lobbyist groups is fascistic (Mussolini himself partitioned the power system in Italy to consist of various group interests in a great extend).
Power and law become then an exchange between groups (lobbying), experts (often paid lackeys of said groups), and politicians, and democracy goes out of the window.
The democratic alternative would have been several opposed political parties, so that the play for power is open to the general masses --the population that supports them-- directly, and is carried out as a public struggle for the vote.
But the differences between Republicans and Democrats in most matters are mostly marginal or a joke, and mainly in issues that don't matter to the actual power play
--- like playing pro or against "gay marriage" to appeal to conservative or progressive voters, the same voters that both parties pass laws to make them poorer and more controlled in every possible way.
You're being way too reductionist, buying the anti-capitalist propaganda. To be sure, there's plenty of bad things to be said about corporations. But it's tremendously naive to believe that it's corporations that are calling all the shots.
Remember, the corporations looking for these perks are every bit as dependent on the power of government as the government is on corporate donations. So directing ire at corporations for trying to get rents out of the government, without simultaneously excoriating government officials for selling out, is misguided.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the only viable strategy to combat this is to combat the government abuses.
The corporations are doing what's natural: find places where they can get advantages over competitors, and take them to maximize shareholder value. But the government officials are more culpable. They are making promises that they (seem to) have no intention of keeping, and in doing so are blatantly violating their oaths of office. While the negative end results is the result of each, I believe that the members of the government are more immoral, and more deserving of our anger.
And the answer is not greater legislation to control corporations. That's just giving the government more power that they can sell to the highest bidder. The answer is to strip away the government's power. This may seem counterintuitive, because it appears to leave us unprotected against corporate abuse. But when the vehicle to that abuse is through government power, then curtaining that power leaves the corporations themselves unarmed against us.
This is really quite analogous to the arguments for/against gun control. Sure, demanding licensing of guns, etc., keeps the weapons out of the hands of much of the public. But the bad guys still get the guns, and the poor law-abiding citizens are then left defenseless. It's better, in my mind, to ensure that we can all compete on a level playing field, rather than handicap the citizenry so that the bad guys (or the corporations) get the power.
There is ample evidence of corporate fraud in recent years, not the least of which is around the mortgage securitization processes.
We need a level playing field, with known, equitable rules, and with enforcement, and with judicial review.
Commit to regulation and a pro-governance model? Lose.
Commit to a corporate model and a pro-corporate model? Lose.
It's about balance.
You'll have to first account for two words: "regulatory capture".
Until you can find a miracle to get around that problem, regulation is in the long run destined to be turned inside-out and used to sustain the industries. Look no farther than the current debates about various IP problems for an example.
There is an old Milton Friedman video floating around which dates back to the 1970s. At the time he was spending a lot of time trying to convince people that oversized governments weren't a good thing.
One of the very salient points he makes to a detractor is that if you limit the size of the government, you - by nature - limit the power a corporation can obtain. If the government has limited powers, so it goes that a corporation can gain limited powers - it should be impossible for a corporation to gain more power than a government.
It's the essential point that everyone skips over - they see government powers failing to check corporate growth, and so want more government power. If you take this to the argument by absurdity, you end up with a fascist government that exerts total control over the people, and then licences that control out to selected corporations in return for cash and favors.
The problem is human nature - and the solution must be to design a system that makes the assumption that humans will try and gather power and abuse it. It's the same concept as term limits but applied across a much broader spectrum.
Consider this "very salient point": "if you limit the size of the government, you - by nature - limit the power a corporation can obtain. If the government has limited powers, so it goes that a corporation can gain limited powers - it should be impossible for a corporation to gain more power than a government".
This point is BS. There are places where corporations (or even one corporation) have more power than the government everywhere around the world, especially in Africa and Asia. There are entire countries where the government is just paid lackeys and a front for some mega-corporation. There is even a term for those, they are called "banana republics".
The limiting of the argument to "one corporation" is especially BS, since even if a single corporation cannot get "bigger than the government" in a place like the US, the "corporate interests" can and do get bigger than the government.
Despite fighting in the market (and that, only if they are serving the same market, which, say, Google, Exxon and GE do not), corporations also agree on a lot of things. For example media companies agree on SOPA and PIPA and a thousand other things (drm everywhere, destroy cinematographers unions, etc). And all corporate interest's also converge on a lot of things, like tax deductions, being able to fire any employee at will, lower minimum wages, unpaid overtime, etc.
Consider a country where there is no public health coverage. What will happen will not be "competing health services for the benefit of the customer" but an emergence of a health industry cartel and the total dependence of the people in it. Things that need big scale and resources, like building, buying equipment, and running a hospital or a bank or an insurance company, have been seen time and again to build cartels with "competitors" and kill competition to maximize profits.
(See also: http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/27512/ , but one can also see it from experience, if one follows the political/social history of more than one country --something easy to do in Europe).
People talking about the limiting of the power of government always have in mind the equation "government = some politicians who abuse their power", and never "government = the only power body that is elected and somewhat controlled by the general public".
Not the same thing. 'Corporatism' in the Italian Fascism sense does not mean what you think it means. It means all society is organized 'corporations' controlled by the state.
All society is turning to "organized corporations" controlled by the state.
That's why in my comment above, I did not only talk about corporations as such ("Microsoft", "Google", "Apple", "GE", etc), but also about lobbies in general.
All those (actual companies, and aggregate lobbying entities like the health lobby, the christian lobby, the gay lobby, the gun lobby, the press lobby) etc are the equivalent of fascism corporations.
A nice discourse of this can be found in this book:
No. Look up the definitions.
> All society is turning to "organized corporations" controlled by the state.
Again, only in your mind. There is no evidence of this outside your head.
1) You go to 2 wars with the dumbest of excuses by the dumbest of presidents in order for some mega-corps in the industrial-military complex to profit.
-- said president probably got elected due to electoral fraud in the first place, anyway--
2) You have para-police security personnel do naked scans of you and cup your genitals in airpots.
3) You have laws that invalidate due process, like the Patriot Act.
4) You have mass electronic surveillance, security agencies installing backdoors in public platforms, etc.
5) You give ~ 1 trillion dollar bailout to mass financial companies that brought the economy to a halt through deregulation and greed.
6) They try to pass 2-3 laws (PIPA, SOPA, ACTA) to control the internet, including censoring whole websites.
and "there is no evidence of this". Except in my head. Right.
How is this head-in-the-sand thing working for you?
And so you resort to ad-hominem and downvoting instead of argument.
Second, I resort to ad-hominen? Really? Because, besides the "head in the sand" comment, my reply included SIX (count 'em!), numbered, counter arguments. It boggles the mind how one can manage to miss them.
And all those six (count 'em) arguments, in order to reply to your sans-argument ad-hominen that it's all "only in [my] mind. There is no evidence of this outside [my] head".