One excuse for imposing ever more controls on political fundraising and political speech is that campaign money is â€œcorrupting.â€
But you can get and spend money in a good way or a bad way. Say you steal it. Okay â€” bad. But suppose people give it to you voluntarily because they like your ideas and character. Also bad? Or just bad when itâ€™s a dollar more than the legal limit?
We supposedly have â€œout of controlâ€ spending on, say, presidential campaigns. An Orlando Sentinel editorial explains how the endless millions yield endless obligations to special interests. Their solution? Lots more public spending on campaigns. Funding by taxpayers. Divorce financial support for campaigns from personal support.
Actually itâ€™s the campaign finance regulation that corrupts. It boosts incumbents who know how to exploit the system, while often hobbling challengers. But letâ€™s stipulate that privately raised money corrupts all by itself. Just get rid of it, then? In a letter to the editor, one Orlando resident suggests Congress could require campaigns to raise and spend â€œno more than one dollar.â€ Because â€œin that case none of the campaigns would be spending any more than a dollar â€” or two, if you count matching funds.â€
Solves everything, right? No money, no corruption? No special interests, no horse trading, no mutual back-scratching?
Absurd you say? Thatâ€™s my point.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.