Sunday, October 09, 2016

Zakaria on our "pay to play" politics: money as speech, and the tax code

Fareed Zakaria gave an interesting take on “pay to play” today on his CNN GPS broadcast.
The United States, he said, is the only major democracy that depends on private funding for political campaigns.  Zakaria coordinates this observation with the complexity of the tax code.

So when you buy a $5000 ticket for breakfast with a political candidate, you’re buying a break in the tax code.

And the Supreme Court, in 1976  (Buckley v. Valeo ) and more recently, said that money in political donations constitutes a form of speech.

So, Zakaria says, simplify the tax code – which is what libertarians want.


The “spoils” system, however, corrupts the idea of solidarity.  It tends to encourage partisan polarization (in conjunction with gerrymandering).  It mediates the idea of collective action and obedience to leadership with payoffs to specific special interests, and tends to encourage identity politics.

There's another way to look at the morality of speech, "play to pay".  No spectators! No gawkers!

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