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Old 02-23-2011, 10:59 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Let's revisit this topic again: public financing of campaigns.

The subject has come up in a few threads as a tangeant.

Let's address it straightforwardly as its own subject, because I think it's a fascinating conversation.

I think one of the telling things about our electoral process is that during a public employee strike in Wisconsin, governor Scott Walker took 20 minutes to field a call from an imposter pretending to be a really rich guy who pours money into Tea Party politics.

Now... whatever. I don't care about the imposter thing. For the most part Walker was still consistent with his public statements, except he was far more frank about the deviousness of his political strategy. Like I said, big whoop, whatever.

But the guy making the call was clearly acting like a bit of a loon. And Walker grins and bears it, chuckling hesitantly and trying to be somewhat supportive. This guy on the phone was a lunatic, but he has a ton of cash, so he gets a huge amount of attention from public servants like Walker for almost entirely that reason alone.

Obama himself, in Audacity of Hope, wrote that you cannot really get a political career off the ground without "asking rich people for money."

For a serious shot at the Presidency, for instance, you need to campaign for a year and a half AT LEAST, which demands that you must suck up over a hundred million dollars in donations for at least 18 months' time. This means that people who are either (a.) rich, or (b.) sympathetic to the rich, or (c.) both, are the only ones who have a shot at this stage. And it doesn't get much better for either chamber of Congress.

I'm not attempting to make a comprehensive argument. I'm just trying to get the ball rolling. So let's roll.

What are your thoughts on public financing of campaigns?
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:29 AM   #31
HonestChieffan HonestChieffan is offline
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As long as government insists on inserting itsself into the nature and very heart of doing business, business has a right and an obligation to be involved in politics. And as long as individuals have the right to form interest groups or to join together to speak in a unified voice, we cannot legislate who can say what, how much or how loud, or on what topic they are allowed to express themselves.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:38 AM   #32
patteeu patteeu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
As long as government insists on inserting itsself into the nature and very heart of doing business, business has a right and an obligation to be involved in politics. And as long as individuals have the right to form interest groups or to join together to speak in a unified voice, we cannot legislate who can say what, how much or how loud, or on what topic they are allowed to express themselves.
Excellent point. Instead of campaign finance reform, let's reform the tax system to make it more difficult for elected politicians to dole out tax breaks in return for favor-buying campaign contributions. Let's narrow the scope of the commerce clause so that Congress understands that it no longer has the authority to be as intrusive in the private economy as it has been for the past 80 years.

Jerry Brown ran for POTUS in 1992 on a flat tax idea. He didn't favor the flat tax for economic reasons or fairness reasons as much as for political reform. He wanted a tax code that was simplified and transparent to the point that special interest loopholes would stand out like sore thumbs and, maybe more importantly, where the marginal rate was low enough that it wouldn't be worth as much effort on the part of special interest to pursue tax breaks in the first place.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:46 AM   #33
dirk digler dirk digler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
As long as government insists on inserting itsself into the nature and very heart of doing business, business has a right and an obligation to be involved in politics. And as long as individuals have the right to form interest groups or to join together to speak in a unified voice, we cannot legislate who can say what, how much or how loud, or on what topic they are allowed to express themselves.
No one is saying that business can't be involved they just wouldn't be able to donate millions of dollars to own politicians.

I think it is getting out of hand when you are required to collect a billion dollars to run for POTUS.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:53 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by dirk digler View Post
No one is saying that business can't be involved they just wouldn't be able to donate millions of dollars to own politicians.

I think it is getting out of hand when you are required to collect a billion dollars to run for POTUS.
So what you're saying is that it's fine for a business like Ford to be involved in politics as long as they either donate their money to the general fund from which all candidates are financed or if they limit their contributions to the same pittance that any working class schlub can afford?

I suppose you're going to want to limit Ford's ability to finance their own ad campaign to promote politicians that aren't hostile to business, right?
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:54 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by dirk digler View Post
No one is saying that business can't be involved they just wouldn't be able to donate millions of dollars to own politicians.

I think it is getting out of hand when you are required to collect a billion dollars to run for POTUS.

And politicians will write these rules....and define what is a "business"....Will they define what a "business can advertise and support? What defines an individual? Is a group dedicated to wildlife habitat improvement a business? Would they be allowed to contribute? Is a Union a business?


Tis a very slippery slope.

But I agree it has gotten out of hand. Not sure what the fix is but Im sure public financing is not the fix.
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:59 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
So what you're saying is that it's fine for a business like Ford to be involved in politics as long as they donate their money to the general fund from which all candidates are financed

I suppose you're going to want to limit Ford's ability to finance their own ad campaign to promote politicians that aren't hostile to business, right?
Yes but I don't know under public financing of campaigns there would be any donating.

I don't know if that is possible but if it is then yes. I say that because running TV ads and what not is very expensive and politicians then wouldn't have to use their money to run ads which would give an unfair advantage. That would apply to any group IMO.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:04 PM   #37
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This is the kind of bad idea that people who came up with the bad ideas that created a problem in the first place come up with to fix that problem but only end up making it worse.

Let's go the other direction and get rid of some of the existing campaign finance laws. Get rid of limits. Get rid of PACs. Strip it down and start over. This time let's focus on transparency and information availability instead.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:39 PM   #38
Jenson71 Jenson71 is offline
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1. Our economy is not paid for by the gov't.

2. When asked about things our gov't does well liberals always point to the military, and when asked what we need to cut, they always point to the military first.

So of everything our gov't touches, the only thing you can list that it does well is the military (which is ripe with waste, and fraud). Any other examples?
I know, but a lot of our public policy does helps shape economic development. And it's been very positive.

The military is the greatest in the world. Our public research institutions are the envy of the world. Our space program is the best in the world. We also have relatively effective food and drug administrations, national weather services, and effective environmental agencies.

Not that this really addresses the point of public financed campaigns.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:41 PM   #39
Jenson71 Jenson71 is offline
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Are economy is no longer Number 1. We were in 4th under Bush and have dropped to ninth place.
Hong King, Singapore, Australia, Switzerland are faring better than us.
No, we're the strongest and largest economy in the world. We're stronger and larger than those four countries put together times 100 (made up number).
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:42 PM   #40
Jenson71 Jenson71 is offline
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
This is the kind of bad idea that people who came up with the bad ideas that created a problem in the first place come up with to fix that problem but only end up making it worse.

Let's go the other direction and get rid of some of the existing campaign finance laws. Get rid of limits. Get rid of PACs. Strip it down and start over. This time let's focus on transparency and information availability instead.
This is the kind of impractical, idealistic, vague idea that will never get a real footing in our current political state.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:52 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Jenson71 View Post
This is the kind of impractical, idealistic, vague idea that will never get a real footing in our current political state.
There's nothing impractical about it. And it's not really any more vague than the rest of this discussion. The only thing you're right about is that it probably won't get any real footing in our current political state.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:53 PM   #42
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The only thing you're right about is that it probably won't get any real footing in our current political state.
Then why is it a practical proposal?
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:07 PM   #43
dirk digler dirk digler is offline
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Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
And politicians will write these rules....and define what is a "business"....Will they define what a "business can advertise and support? What defines an individual? Is a group dedicated to wildlife habitat improvement a business? Would they be allowed to contribute? Is a Union a business?


Tis a very slippery slope.

But I agree it has gotten out of hand. Not sure what the fix is but Im sure public financing is not the fix.
That is true and I agree it is a slippery slope. If it were up to me any 3rd party group would not be allowed to contribute or run TV, print or radio ads.
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:08 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
This is the kind of bad idea that people who came up with the bad ideas that created a problem in the first place come up with to fix that problem but only end up making it worse.

Let's go the other direction and get rid of some of the existing campaign finance laws. Get rid of limits. Get rid of PACs. Strip it down and start over. This time let's focus on transparency and information availability instead.
It is almost going that way as it stands now and it is getting out of control.
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:28 PM   #45
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Then why is it a practical proposal?
If the chances of it happening in the current political climate are the measure of practicality, then the whole idea of increased public financing of campaigns is impractical because it's not going to happen while the Republicans have the ability to block it in the House.

IMO, the measure of practicality is whether or not it could be implemented today without the type of massive disruption that would be catastrophicly prohibitive. For example, it would be impractical to end SS and Medicare cold turkey because there are so many people who depend on those programs and there wouldn't be any way for them to adapt in such a short period of time. Any attempt to end or dramatically change SS or Medicare needs to include a transition phase over a long period of time to minimize that type of disruption. There would be no such disruption if we eliminated campaign finance limits and the laws that created PACs to get around those limits, so I would call that a practical proposal.
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