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Campaign Finance Reform Reborn

May 5th, 2010 by Mike N · No Comments · Uncategorized

The Saturday, 5/3/10 Detroit News has an editorial on the new finance regulation bill offered by the congressional Democrats. Evidently the bill restores some of the regulations on businesses that the Supreme Court just struck down while exempting unions from the same disclosure requirements. I have to shake my head at the Orwellian (or should I say Atlas Shruggedian) title of the bill:”Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending on Elections bill” aka DISCLOSE. Evil, greedy business must disclose contributions but noble, virtuous unions don’t have to. But, laments the editorial, they should have to:

“DISCLOSE would prohibit contractors who do more than $50,000 a year in business with the government or receive federal bailout money from contributing to political campaigns. A fine argument could be made that such spending presents a conflict of interest.
But it’s the same conflict presented by public employee unions contributing to the politicians who will decide their pay, benefits and staffing levels.”

So this means that if unions can be conflicted business should too? Or, since business can’t, neither should unions? The question ‘Are conflicts of interest a natural part of free markets or of government interference?’ is not addressed. It continues later with:

“A bonus provision of the bill would allow political parties to buy advertising at the most favorable rates, forcing media outlets to subsidize campaigns.”

Would these be chickens coming home to roost Mr. editor?

“Republicans will get beat up in blocking this bill as water carriers for Big Business. But they have little choice. If it passes, there will be no evenness on the political playing field.”

Notice the influence of egalitarianism. No violation of rights by this bill is mentioned anywhere in the editorial, just its unevenness. So if every one’s rights were violated equally then presumably that would be fair.

If shining a light is really their goal, the congressional sponsors of this bill should make sure every dollar contributed to influence an election is posted on the Internet, with a name attached.
Do that, and make the disclosure requirements apply equally to all donors, and Congress won’t need to keep trying to find a way to keep money out of politics that doesn’t step on the First Amendment.

Completely evaded is the fact that ‘keeping money out of politics that doesn’t step on the First Amendment’ is not possible in a mixed economy where people are forced to lobby politicians either in self defense or for special favors which are denied to their competitors. In a laissez-faire market where government is not allowed to interfere with peoples’ choices there would be no need for finance reform to curb the corruption caused by influence peddling.

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