Is money the root of all evil? That’s what some believe and they’re convinced that getting money out of politics will save our system.
But the issue of campaign financing isn’t quite that simple. The facts don’t agree with the emotions of some reformers. And the career politicians mugging for the cameras simply ignore the facts. The main campaign finance legislation in the House, the Shays-Meehan bill, would cap spending in congressional races at $600,000.
That’s a big problem.
In the 1998 elections 311 incumbents spent under $800,000 on their campaigns. All the incumbents won. Of the 279 challengers who spent under $800,000, every single one of them lost. Incumbency is much more important than money in determining who will win an election. Still, the incumbents are trying to set rules under which experience tells us no challenger would win.
Career politicians pretend to pass campaign finance reform to clean up the system and give challengers a fair chance. But in reality, their bill is designed to protect them from competition. Money isn’t the problem. We all need money and most of us won’t let the need for money take away our honesty and integrity. The problem is power.
If we allow career politicians to regulate the election process they’ll have more power and money. And we’ll go from few choices at the polls to none.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.