I'm watching the meetings between President Trump and leaders of big business with interest. They appear to be supporting his plan to return manufacturing to the USA from offshore, and are talking big investments in infrastructure . . . but let us not forget, they're primarily there to make decisions in their own best interests. Harvard Business Review pointed out last year that a large slice of corporate profits depend on lobbying government.
Lobbying and political campaign spending can result in favorable regulatory changes, and several studies find the returns to these investments can be quite large. For example, one study finds that for each dollar spent lobbying for a tax break, firms received returns in excess of $220.
It is less obvious, however, that regulation in general should be associated with higher profits. Indeed, critics of the regulatory state regularly decry the costs imposed by regulations. Yet even regulations that impose costs might raise profits indirectly, since costs to incumbents are also entry barriers for prospective entrants. For example, one study found that pollution regulations served to reduce entry of new firms into some manufacturing industries.
. . .
Firms influence the legislative and regulatory process and they engage in a wide range of activity to profit from regulatory changes, with significant success ... the link between regulation and profits is highly concentrated in a small number of politically influential industries. Among non-financial corporations, most of the effect is accounted for by just five industries: pharmaceuticals/chemicals, petroleum refining, transportation equipment/defense, utilities, and communications. These industries comprise, in effect, a “rent seeking sector.” Concentration of political influence among a narrow group of firms means that those firms may skew policy for the entire economy. For example, the pharmaceutical industry has actively stymied efforts to address problems of patent trolls that affect many other industries.
There's more at the link.
Business leaders meeting with President Trump certainly fits into the 'regulation and lobbying' category. I know that 'the art of the deal' will be a cornerstone of this administration, but it has to be the right kind of deal - good for the country as a whole, not just Big Business. It's not like the movies used to portray it:
We've learned better than that. This is a situation that will bear watching.