We hear a great deal about money corrupting politics these days. But Paul Farago, with the Cascade Policy Institute, says politics is corrupting money.
He points out that much of the problem is created by politicians dispensing special favors or threatening to bludgeon the market to shake down contributions from various economic interests. Farago writes: “The total amount spent in elections is insignificant when compared to the economic value of laws and rules that favor particular interests. For example, spending on federal elections over the last two years amounted to about $2.5 billion . . . During the same period, the U.S. government spent about $3.25 trillion: roughly 1,300 times more money.” Farago is right: Politics corrupts money.
In the 1992 election cycle, Microsoft gave only $50,000 in political donations. But after an aggressive campaign by the Clinton Justice Department to tear the company apart, Microsoft felt it had to start ponying up big-time to save its neck. It gave over $4.5 million dollars in the 2000 election cycle a 9,000 percent increase. Farago says Congress is supposed to provide for the welfare of all citizens, not discriminate in favor of a few, nor function as a shakedown artist intimidating those with deep pockets.
Our political leaders are supposed to apply the principle of equality under the law. Politicians don’t need any new laws to stop corruption especially laws that allow incumbents to squelch criticism and regulate those who would oppose them. They need only follow the law and not be corrupt. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.