This is my first post on this blog. I’ve been following my wife’s writing for awhile now. I’ve enjoyed it and have been quite impressed. Since med school keeps her insanely busy, I asked if I might sign on to help keep things going when she gets a bit overwhelmed. She graciously accepted my proposal so here I am. Hope I don’t muck things up too badly.
I’m a staunch defender of individual freedom, and I truly believe that a limited government dedicated to the protection and preservation of the rights to life, liberty, and property is both the only morally justifiable government and the one most likely to effectively promote peace and prosperity. However, I’m not holding my breath for the dawning of the new age of enlightenment. Recent developments in Washington suggest I’d be sure to suffocate if I tried.
You’ve probably heard people complain that there is too much money in politics. While I certainly agree with the observation, most of the policy prescriptions that follow strike me as naive at best, most likely genuine but misguided, and possibly viciously cynical. As the piece in the Post points out, bureaucrats know bureaucracy. Placing restrictions on the ways in which organizations can spend their money for lobbying purposes is a futile endeavor. It is even possible that it could make things worse by further complicating the regulatory framework and providing more obscure language that can be massaged into loopholes to make even the most blatant malfeasance seem legal (ie. deliberately ignoring the mandate that lawmakers pay charter rates for private jets).
Interests with large amounts of cash have disproportionate political clout. This is usually bad, but the answer is not to try to get the money out of politics; the answer is try to get politics out of our lives. Drastically reduce the scope and power of the federal government to dole out favors (in other words, legitimately apply the Constitution to the current establishment) and I guarantee that a lot less money will be wasted on rent-seeking. By the same argument, leave the current powers in place, and it won’t matter how many hurdles you throw in the way of lobbyists–they will leap over, scramble under, dodge around, or just plain break though every last one. When your life is on the line, people become remarkably resourceful.
Trying to reduce the link between the size of an organization’s bankroll and the magnitude of their political clout by restricting the ways in which they can spend their money for lobbying purposes is a futile endeavor more likely to