Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The cost of government

Why do people who chronically complain about the money consumed by government have so little to say about the billions of dollars spent to put politicians into office?

Election debt is analogous to student loan debt. Of course the office holder will look for a quick way to discharge that financial obligation. And office holders have to incur this debt every election cycle.

Term limits won't cure this. It's attached to the elections themselves, because of the way we've let them become absurdly expensive sales campaigns. Whoever is running will need to drum up the cash.

Outside spending is hard to limit, because the government should not be allowed to tell some rich idiot not to spend money on ads supporting a specific candidate or point of view. The only way to control political advertising would be to ban it. While that would be unbelievably wonderful esthetically, it presents an ominous restriction on freedom of expression. Certainly an ad-free election process would force candidates to deal in more substance, or at least better illusions of it. It's worth discussing.

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