Arnold Kling  

Campaign Finance Reform

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Gary Becker writes,


Part of the hostility to campaign contributions reflects a general hostility to advertising found among intellectuals in all spheres, including many economists. This hostility greatly underestimates the importance of advertising in providing information, in helping new products or candidates to compete against the establishment, and in entertaining and providing other satisfactions to those affected, be they consumers or voters.

Of course, my view is that pork-barrel expenditures represent campaign contributions, coerced from the taxpaying public.


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COMMENTS (4 to date)
James writes:

What exactly do the people want who are always protesting the big money spent on campaign financing? Big and powerful government without various devoting huge resources to influencing that government? I really don't think that's within the set of possible options.

What's even less likely is the sort of naive populist view that any legislation can result in campaign finance "reform." In fact, calling a law a campaign finance reform bill sneaks in the normative conclusion that the result will be some sort of positive reform. A better name would be "legislation to restrict select groups from funding political campaigns."

Bud1 writes:

How about limiting campaign durations similar to the United Kingdom?

Lord writes:

The problem is the misinformation. There is no truth in advertising for political campaigns.

Brad Hutchings writes:

My view is that "campaign finance reform" is a buzzword that evokes an emotional response rather than any rational thinking on Joe Public's part. Current evidence is Prop 75. It is 100% about campaign financing, in that it will neuter the ability of the public employees unions in the state to wield so much influence in Sacramento. And as much as I despise partisan games, our state is so screwed up now, I'm 99% behind it for that reason alone. Yet, it's being sold as paycheck protection for individual union members. Really, I'm big on that too, having attended school during strikes during the 80s and choosing to go to classes taught by teachers who didn't strike (we got to do pretty much whatever we wanted those days). But this is campaign finance reform and the Governator (aka "our Arnold" so as not to confuse with the host of this site) hasn't sold it that way publicly. He is afraid to make the case that the public employee unions wield so much power because they do not have to worry about their funding which is compulsory of the membership -- "refunds" for political activity given a year after being collected, not subject to audit, protected by a federal court ruling (and threat of a lawsuit over $100 I guess) rather than legislation.

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