Election 2012

Big Money and Small Money in Presidential Campaigns: Katherine Mangu-Ward in Zocalo Public Square

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money in ballot box

Zocalo Public Square hosted a forum on big and small political donations and their effects on campaigns. Here's a chunk of my take on the issue:

The CEO of Worldwide Acme Corporation and Joe Schmo from Ohio give to politicians for the same reason: They think their guy is going to get them something they want. What they want might be selfish (a tax break or a subsidy that benefits them directly) or it might be altruistic (more immigrant visas or transfers to the poor).

But more and more people think it's worthwhile to drop some dough in the pockets of politicos because office holders have more and more power every year. Government continues to grow in size and scope, which means legislators, presidents, and city councilmen have more money to give away, more contracts to dole out, and more tax advantages to confer. Rather than putting people and companies in a position where they believe they have to support (or buy) a public official to get what they want, I'd rather see a scenario where government is smaller and people have to figure out other ways to spend their money to change the world.

Go check out the rest of the forum for donation-induced panic, pleasure, and everything in between.

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  1. man these bought and paid for politicians really make me angry!

    http://www.Anon.at.tc

  2. Man these bought and paid for politicians really make me mad!

    http://www.private-at.tk

    1. And I thought robots were cold and emotionless.

  3. But more and more people think it’s worthwhile to drop some dough in the pockets of politicos because office holders have more and more power every year. Government continues to grow in size and scope, which means legislators, presidents, and city councilmen have more money to give away, more contracts to dole out, and more tax advantages to confer.

    It is almost like it is a bidding contest, in advance, on goods improperly acquired.

  4. What the heck:

    Money and power will always find each other.

    1. Just like John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

  5. KMW, your position is one I share. Whenever I propose to decentralize power to my more progressive friends, their retort is always that corporations will take advantage of the reduced power of government. They never seem to get that the ever increasing power of government allows for favored corporations and elites to gain more rents and power. They seem to believe in some analog of mutually assured destruction between big business and government that can only ever be solved by enhancing the power of government rather than disarmament and de-escalation.

    1. Well, duh!
      The whole problem here is that evil corporations control the government!
      The way to wrest control from the evil corporations and put it into the hands of The People is to give more power to the government that is controlled by the corporations, so it can control the corporations that control it!
      If that doesn’t work, and you end up with a more powerful government that is controlled by the corporations, you can fix it by giving even more power to the government!
      This way the government can control the corporations that control it!
      What could possibly go wrong?
      Power to The People!

      1. It’s all so clear now.

  6. You just don’t understand. Politicians (particularly those in the state of Montana, I’m told) are so irredeemably corrupt they cannot be exposed to the temptation of selling their votes to the highest bidder. Money in politics must be strictly limited. What small trickles are permitted must be strictly controlled by the all-knowing and virtuous political leaders who will protect the people from the corruption represented by money in politics.

    Also, Montana voters, as a species, are a bunch of slack-jawed cretinous yokels who could never, ever independently judge the truth or falsehood of political advertising, and so must be protected from seeing anything not pre-approved by their noble political overclass.

    THIS is why the left wing authoritarian, currently attorney general and Democratic candidate for governor, wants the First Amendment abolished. For the sake of America. (For all I know, the Republitard concurs in every detail.)

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