Monday, January 09, 2006


Paint Me Pink (with Broad Brushstrokes) and Call Me a Keynesian ...

... but how come in all of this talk about "lobbying reform", nobody is talking about the demand issue?

Everyone is talking about how to stop the supply of the corrupting flow of money from lobbyists -- changing laws, etc. -- but who is talking about reducing the demand for money? After all, so long as elections are expensive to run, there will be "special interests" willing to pay for them. The real solution to the problem of corrupt and corrosive monetary influences on politics is to have a system in which it just don't cost all that much to win an election. Public campaign financing might help, but do I, e.g., really want my tax money going to some wingnut who is wont to point out "it's uterus, not uterme"?

The real solution is that all of us voters should become more educated about issues and candidates (and the newsmedia should actually perform their role in keeping us informed of such things) so that elections are not decided by expensive attack ads but by inexpensive lists of positions disseminated through press conferences, etc.

You would think that both parties would be harping about the demand side of the equation. It gives Republicans a chance to talk about "personal responsibility" (they may not be the party of personal responsibility, but until BushCO made it so obvious that they are not, they were certainly the party of talking about personal responsibility) of voters to be informed citizens. It gives Democrats a chance to talk up Keynesian theory about the role of demand in affecting, nay in even effecting decisions (yay! I get to use effect as a verb ... I love it when I can do that!). And it gives "both sides" (TM of SCLM, Inc.) an opportunity to throw their hands up in the air about lobbying reform (which presumably neither really wants anyway) by saying -- "no matter what we do, it'll be futile" ... and for once, they will not be entirely wrong in saying that! Indeed, what can be done to address the demand issue are things incumbents might like -- for example, better gerrymandering: if no races are competative, incumbents won't need to raise money. And, in spite of what Newt G.'s now saying, most Congresscritters, even most of the sleezers and wingnuts, are not in Congress to raise money 24/7 but to actually do their jobs as Representatives of you and I (no matter how deluded they are about what being a Representative actually means).

But I reckon the reason why the demand side (except for an occassional moonbat, not thinking about her money going to fund the Atilla '06 campaign) doesn't get much traction is that party bosses are people too. And saying that the real problem with our system is not the supply of lobbyist money but the demand for it due to expensive elections indicates that the real problem with our system is we the voters -- who are suckered into voting one way or the other not by the simple, honest and cheap facts of the situation but by expensive campaign ads (if those ads don't work, why are people paying for them?). It's as Pogo said: "we have met the enemy and he is us".

So, until we all are willing to face the fact that, when the system is broken in a democracy, it's our own damned fault, no matter what "lobbying reform" gets passed, it won't do a lick of good.

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