The Pareto Principle is alive and well under the Gold Dome.
Roughly speaking, the Pareto Principle holds that 20 percent of the people produce 80 percent of the results. In business, it might mean a handful of salespeople are responsible for most of a firm’s revenue. In agriculture, it might mean — as the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto observed a century ago — one-fifth of the pods produce four-fifths of the peas.
Regarding our General Assembly, I allude not to how many lawmakers introduce the bulk of bills that are passed — although that might be true. Rather, I’m talking about gifts from lobbyists to legislators.
My review of such gifts reported in 2011 found that, for the top three leaders in the House (David Ralston, Jan Jones and Larry O’Neal) and Senate (Casey Cagle, Tommie Williams and Chip Rogers), 19 percent of reported gifts accounted for 72 percent of the money spent.
Pretty close to Pareto.
The dividing line that created the 19-72 split was a gift value of
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