22 March 2008

Campaign Finance Reform

Yaron Brook has written an excellent article, “War on Free Political Speech," on the restrictions of free speech imposed by “campaign finance reform” legislation.  He points to the ominous trend: as private money is driven out of campaigns, “public” money - that is to say, tax money under the control of the government that is presently in power - rushes in.  It’s a frightening prospect to have politicians controlling the pursestrings of all election campaigns.  They would legally have not only limitless funds for themselves, but complete power to block or choose competitors.

The McCain-Feingold legislation is supposedly designed to attack corruption in politics by preventing wealthy individuals and corporations from purchasing government favors.  But it entirely misses the obvious culprits - the legislators themselves.  The laws simply muzzle private citizens without addressing the fact that special treatment from politicians can be bought.  If the government were limited to its proper function of safeguarding individual rights, there would be no special favors to purchase.  An honest corporation would not have to make large donations in order to defend itself from legal attack by legislators, and a dishonest corporation would have no means of using government pull to achieve what it could not in the free market.

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