Wednesday, August 19, 2015

“The money seems to have lost its knack for hoodwinking the voters.”

8/19/2015—The above quote is from Paul Krugman—you can look it up. (I believe it was his blog). Krugman’s point in context was that Jeb Bush is raising all this money from just a few billionaires and he is still just fourth in the polls.

But the quote fits into a larger context as well. Bush is mostly raising independent money. That is, super PAC money. I have been arguing that the problem of money in American politics is not the amount but the independence. We need that money to go directly to candidates so they are responsible to the voters for it. This is my disagreement with Harvard Law Professor Larry Lessig, who is now running for President.

And I can do something about that independence—if we end campaign contribution limits, all that money eventually will have to go to the candidates themselves. Then the voters will see plainly who is paying for what. And won’t some of these rich people go home if all they can do is contribute to campaigns?

And, additionally, then the Democrats will not be handicapped with these ridiculously low contribution limits. Big donors give millions to Super PACs backing Republicans while Hillary spends all her time raising nickels and dimes. This partisan edge is not my reason for opposing contribution limits, but you would think the Dems would support the idea out of self-interest alone.

It’s not just the money. Krugman sees that now. It’s independence that is the problem.

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