Friday, April 06, 2007

SD Union Tribune: Open Windows, Toss McCain-Feingold

The editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune today give eloquent voice to an opinion long held by SWNID.

On the negative, they note that the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act has done nothing to limit the influence of big money on politics. If there's one thing to be learned from the fact that about $150 million has been raised so far by candidates for the 2008 presidential election, that's it. The fact that the Union-Tribune originally supported McCain-Feingold makes this admission all the more powerful.

On the positive, they conclude what we've concluded for a long time: the only way to address the issue of money in politics is to make it transparent. Let individuals, families, unions and corporations (which are, after all, merely people differently aggregated) give what they please, but require the candidates to publish the information quickly, accurately and thoroughly, and put lots of auditors in place to check compliance. Then let the voters decide if they want to vote for Hillary if her funding comes mostly from Stan Chesley, Glaxo-Smith-Kline, the Gambini Family, and Lesbian Yogis for US Disarmament and a Hydrogen-Based Economy.*

Now that's democracy!

*Notice we said if.


JB in CA said...

Unions and corporations are not,"after all, merely people differently aggregated." I belong to a union that routinely takes my dues and spends it on political causes that I disagree with and that have nothing to do with my profession. And there's nothing I can do about it (short of becomming union president). If I want the union to look out for my professional interests, I have to allow it to use my money to promote its political shenanigans. And I dare say the same sort of thing is true of corporations. As toothless as it has turned out to be, the McCain-Feingold bill at least attempted to do something about this form of political extortion.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Thanks to closed-shop agreements, inherently at odds with human liberty, what you say of unions is true. The same is not true of a corporation. I can vote my shares, and if the vote doesn't go my way, I can sell my shares.

Still, unions are legally governed by a modicum of democratic principles that at least requires a majority vote of their members to set policy or take political action.

What we object to is the odd notion that "people" in politics are good but "corporations" or "unions" are bad. What are they made of, Martians?

JB in CA said...

I wasn't referring to shareholders in corporations, but employees. Though they generate a significant portion of company income, management alone determines where the political contributions go.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Employees aren't being represented or penalized by political action taken by the corporation for which they work, any more than an employee of a sole proprietor being represented or penalized if the business's owner makes a political contribution.