(Isn't That Better Than Being Uninterested?)
Magenta Ishak, Assistant Vice President of Political Affairs, NAIFA
Somewhere along the way, someone got the wrongheaded notion that taking an interest in politics — even if it’s a special interest — is a bad thing. A recent editorial in the New York Times based on a Washington Post story, both of which cited NAIFA’s PAC (thank you for the free publicity!!), was highly critical of post-election contributions to winning candidates. It seems as if the Times editors feel any group of individuals working together for common goals is a “special interest.”
Guess what? They’re right!!! We are all “special interests.” NAIFA is a “special interest.” NAIFA was formed over a century ago to focus on improving the business livelihoods of its members and helping American families secure their futures. We don’t lobby on housing policy, strategic helium reserves, shoulder-launched heat-seeking missiles, or the care and feeding of trumpeter swans. We educate lawmakers on our profession (insurance and financial services) and its role in the U.S. economy.
There were “special interests” before PACs were born, and that’s a good thing. Interest groups have played an influential role in U.S. politics since the days of the colonies. A vibrant American democracy depends on active and varied interest group participation. As long as lots of groups are active, one (or an oligarchy of groups) cannot dominate our political system. I believe in a tax-free death benefit; others don’t. I do not support a single-payer health care system; some of my fellow citizens do. Politics is the art of settling (as best it can) this tug and pull of opinions.
NAIFA members are involved in the formation of public policy because they firmly believe that their business philosophies are the best for our country. It’s just that simple and there ain’t a darned thing wrong with it.
Not every contribution is a conspiracy!