The (barely) unstated, unsupported assumption of this front-page New York Times news article on lobbying by for-profit colleges is that the regulations they were lobbying to weaken were reasonable in the first place. The display type under the photograph that appears with the article says, "Cass R. Sunstein, the White House official who oversees rulemaking, described the industry's aggressive efforts regarding for-profit schools as 'extreme.'" But the article also reports that Mr. Sunstein "and other administration officials said they listened to what they viewed as reasonable arguments and decided to narrow the scope of the original plan." Why doesn't the display type say that?
The question that goes unexplored in the article is why any business should have to spend $16 million on a lobbying campaign and hiring Democratic insiders to protect itself from regulatory overreach. The story focuses on the business's self-defense rather than on the regulatory overreach that made the defense necessary in the first place. The Times article carries a recitation of some of the arguments the for-profit colleges made against the regulatory overreach — Steve Eisman, described reverentially by the Times as "the noted hedge-fund trader," was a short-seller, and the for-profit schools "questioned why nonprofit schools were untouched." But it doesn't really explore the merits of those arguments, it just frames them as part of some high-priced lobbying campaign.
Let the Times explore the lobbying expenditures and former government officials hired by some of the fancy nonprofit colleges attended by its editors, or, for that matter, by the California state university system. Unlike the for-profits, those institutions don't pay tax at the corporate level and, in the case of the state colleges, are funded by state tax dollars.
For earlier coverage here of the for-profit college story, see this piece.