Codex Per∑Fidem - The Four-Part Plan to Free Elections

The Four-Part Plan to Free Elections

Campaign finance reform is one of those perennial issues in American politics. The concerns that keep campaign finance reform on every voterís mind are deeply rooted in the American political psyche. Every time we cast a ballot in a presidential election, we wonder why someone would want to spend tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars to get a job that pays $400,000 a year for four years. Do the math. It doesnít add up. Which leaves two possibilities, either the President is not concerned about money (which would be thoroughly un-American) or heís corrupt.

So, we have become distrustful of politicians. And that is a good thing. We should always cast a wary eye upon those who seek to gain power over their neighbors. We should make sure that those we elect do not become corrupted. However, most campaign finance reform proposals only make the problem worse. So, letís look at the problem from another angle, the constitutional one. Here is the Four-Part Plan to Free Elections.

First, eliminate all limitations on political contributions. The government has no right to limit contributions. Such limitations fly in the face of American freedoms. The government has no right to limit how much money a free citizen can spend on a legal activity.

Second, require candidates to disclose who is contributing to their campaign and how much money each donor gave. The limitations in place now encourage under-the-table, shady dealings. Therefore, everything should be out in the open so that democracy can decide.

Third, eliminate public financing of campaigns. Article I, section 8 of the Constitution is very specific regarding the powers of Congress. Funding campaigns is not listed as one of Congressí powers. Further, public financing is unfair to minor parties since the lionís share of tax dollars goes to major party candidates.

Fourth, the government should not require that television and radio stations offer free or reduced cost air time to candidates. This idea has been proposed in many campaign finance reform plans, and the FCC currently requires radio and television stations to offer thier lowest advertising rates to political candidates. TV and radio stations are private businesses and should not be forced to make contributions to political candidates. It is true that they rely on public airwaves to conduct business, but every other business in America relies on some form of public infrastructure. Why must these particular businesses be singled out? Why not force Dominoes to make free pizza deliveries to a candidateís campaign headquarters?

If we are concerned that our elected representatives (note, representatives, not leaders) are becoming corrupted, perhaps a better way to fix the problem would be to impose term limits. If the corrupted politician is out of power, he cannot harm our Republic. However, campaign finance reform, as it has been enacted, has the opposite effect. It tends to favor the incumbent. This should not come as a surprise. After all, incumbents wrote the law. Their every effort is aimed at keeping power amongst themselves. And they have done a fairly good job at it: the United States Senate has become the place where old windbags go to die.

We, as a free people, decide how to run our government through the election process. Any attempt at campaign finance reform through limitations on contributions, public financing, or burdens placed on private businesses gives government far too much power over the election process. Meaning the government now controls the method we use to control the government. This is very dangerous.


© Copyright 2006, Jason E. Heath
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