There’s a problem. Relationships between career politicians and certain contributors are too cozy.
Take, for example, the seats on glitzy overseas “trade missions” that the Commerce Department hands out as plums to generous contributors. Senator John McCain says that companies going on these trade missions should accept a 6-month moratorium on campaign contributions.
Even Steven Moore of the Club for Growth, usually skeptical of McCain’s proposals for campaign finance reform, finds merit in this suggestion. As Moore puts it, “what’s the point of giving CEOs the royal treatment on chartered trade delegation trips, and placing them in the first-class aisle seats, if you can’t shake them down for money soon thereafter? It’s basically a cash-in, cash-out system. It reeks to high hell.”
True enough. But in my view, McCain’s proposal is just spray-paint on the same old scam. Before and after that six-month period, you’ll still have politics as usual, only more fast and frantic.
Instead of laying a coat of superficial respectability on a scam that shouldn’t be happening at all, let’s stop the scam. Stop the trade missions. You don’t need to send companies overseas at taxpayers’ expense to lower trade barriers. And if the goal is to scout new markets, well, profit-seeking firms can pay for the airline tickets themselves.
No amount of regulation will stop people from going after big favors bestowed on them by politicians, so long as the politicians are still allowed to bestow those favors. So let’s put a stop to the taxpayer-funded favors.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.