The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that campaign contributions are a form of free speech and therefore cannot be subject to regulation. This will strike down the laws which have been passed over several decades to limit contributions from individuals and corporations.
First, I absolutely agree. If I want to give money, I should be able to do so, and I feel the same about businesses or any form of group action. Critics may say that this puts the power in the hands of the wealthy, but they are forgetting that there are millions more among the middle class that in the upper ranks. The masses are in the middle. And who says all wealthy people want the same things. George Soros and Rupert Murdoch definitely aren’t barking up the same tree.
Obama says that lobbyists and “special interests” will rule congress, but Ed Morrisey over at Hotair had an excellent point–the only reason lobbyists have jobs is because congress keeps giving itself authority. The money follows the power. Centralized government is just that–a place where power comes from the hands of the few. When decisions are allowed to take place in the free market the power is kept there among the people, and the market determines the winners and losers–not politicians.
I love this quote from the president’s weekly radio address:
“This ruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy. It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way – or to punish those who don’t.”
Not only is this statement ironic, but it’s purely idiotic. Ironic because of the obscene amount of money Obama raised during his campaign due to his decision not to participate in the public funding program which gives each candidate a set amount of money (which he had originally promised to do). Instead he broke all records by taking unlimited contributions from the big corporations he criticizes and millions of individuals… and this is where it gets idiotic.
At what point does an interest become special? How is there suddenly more “special interest money [in] our democracy”? Democracy is nothing but interests, each competing for favor, and everything that happens in political campaigns is designed to “persuade” people and officials to vote this way or that. And I cannot think of anyone I’ve heard in the last two years doing more persuading than Barack Obama.
But, you may say, special interests represent a minority of people that are wielding their power through money! Ok then. If the 98% of African Americans who voted for Obama had pooled their money together to support him, should I have a “right” as a person representing the caucasian “majority” to stop them through legislation? Are they not a special interest? If an environmental group becomes large enough to collect and contribute millions of dollars to environmentalist candidates should we who do not subscribe to their opinions be able to limit them?
The simple truth is that we use money every day to get the things we want and to support the people we believe in. Yes, this means that wealthy people have a disproportionate influence. But the “wealthy” aren’t a set group of people who sit around conjuring up ways to keep others down. People move up and down the economic ladder, and people who get to the top generally want to help others do the same, because they understand that we all benefit from net growth in wealth and productivity. One person’s success does not mean another’s failure.
People generally reach success through a series of decisions based on good judgment, combined with some hard work. Perhaps it’s taboo, but I’m quite comfortable with those individuals having a little more influence.
The Supreme Court’s job is to make sure that the legislative and executive branches do not overstep their constitutional powers. If we really think it’s right to limit what people or companies can contribute to campaigns there’s always the option of a constitutional amendment.