Thursday, March 8, 2012

On money in politics.............

Craig Newmark notes that in the old days it was not illegal to bribe 
politicians.  Pictures of Jim Fisk, Jay Gould, the Erie Railroad, and 
the New York State legislature come to mind.  While bribery is no 
longer preferred, the money spent influencing the game continues
to increase, despite all efforts to staunch the flow.  He offers this 
     ".....anybody who wants the money out of politics has only 
one reasonable way to proceed: make the government smaller 
and less powerful. Put differently: nobody spends a lot of time
and money trying to influence the local government's dog 
catcher. John notes beautifully in the abstract, 'The irony is 
that those who seem most concerned about the level of 
campaign expenditures are also frequently the ones who 
most strongly support increasing the size of government.'"

Might one suggest that a "flat tax" system is another way to reduce 
the money spent trying to influence Congress?  I suspect the 
number of lobbyists seeking preferential tax treatment for their 
"special interest" group is an overwhelming percentage of the total 
number of lobbyists.  From the hinterlands, it certainly appears 
that Congress has figured out that tinkering with the tax code is a 
great way to generate campaign contributions.  Wouldn't  it be 
interesting if the tax code was used solely to raise revenue for
the operation of government,  and not  used to reward, punish, 
or manipulate behavior?   Hey, a guy can dream, can't he?

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