by Greg Krehbiel on 20 February 2013
My first reaction to the idea that the government can limit the amount a person can contribute to a campaign or to a political cause was very negative. It seemed to be a straight-forward matter of free speech. E.g., if I want to buy and distribute 300 million copies of a political tract, that’s my business, and I don’t see how that’s any different from giving the same amount of money to a political candidate.
However, that approach could be seen to conflict with the idea of decentralized power and checks and balances — which I tend to view as one of, if not the, most important political issue.
Why does Rhode Island get as many senators as Texas? Why does the senate have to approve many of the things the president wants to do? Why are certain powers reserved to the states and the people (at least in theory)?
It’s to distribute power, and to use the natural competitiveness of each interest group as a check on everybody else.
So while I value free speech, I also value keeping any group from having too much power. In this case, I don’t want the rich to rule the political process.
Campaign finance reform might be necessary for that reason.
-- 2013-02-20 » Greg Krehbiel