Free Markets, Free People


Why limiting the power of government should be every citizen’s first priority

Here’s why I fear government.  It is a small, seemingly insignificant story in the big scheme of things, but in reality it points to a power that should simply not be allowed for government to possess.

Tweak of a regulation, stroke of a pen and a small industry is “snuffed out”:

A tiny amendment buried in the federal transportation bill to be signed today by President Barack Obama will put operators of roll-your-own cigarette operations in Las Vegas and nationwide out of business at midnight.

Robert Weissen, with his brothers and other partners, own nine Sin City Cigarette Factory locations in Southern Nevada, including six in Las Vegas, and one in Hawaii. He said when the bill is signed their only choice is to turn off their 20 RYO Filling Station machines and lay off more than 40 employees.

[…]

The machines are used by customers who buy loose tobacco and paper tubes from the shop and then turn out a carton of finished cigarettes in as little as 10 minutes, often varying the blend to suit their taste. Savings are substantial – at $23 per carton, half the cost of a name-brand smoke – in part because loose tobacco is taxed at a lower rate.

"These cigarettes are different because there are benefits in saving money and in how they make you feel," said Amy Hinds, a partner who operates the Sin City Cigarette Factory at Craig and Decatur.

"These cigarettes don’t have any of the chemicals in them, and the papers are chemical-free, unlike the cartons people buy from Philip Morris."

But a few paragraphs added to the transportation bill changed the definition of a cigarette manufacturer to cover thousands of roll-your-own operations nationwide. The move, backed by major tobacco companies, is aimed at boosting tax revenues.

Faced with regulation costs that could run to hundreds of thousands of dollars, RYO machine owners nationwide are shutting down more than 1,000 of the $36,000 machines.

And who offered this “tiny amendment”?

"The man who pushed for this bill is Sen. (Max) Baucus from Montana, and he received donations from Altria, a parent company of Philip Morris. Interestingly enough, there are also no RYO machines in the state of Montana. It really makes me question the morals and values of our elected speakers."

Or “what freaking business is it of Max Baucus?  How does it effect him or his state? 

More freedom, more choice up in smoke.  The problem, of course, is the cigarette industry is an unpopular industry.   But it begs the question, if it can do this to a business we don’t particularly care for, there’s absolutely no reason it can’t do the same thing to one we do care for.  As it has been said many times, “a government strong enough to give you things is also strong enough to take them away”.  And here it is taking away a choice for consumers because it disapproves of the product.

And there’s also a very big hint of crony capitalism (Max Baucus, who has none of the businesses in his state but receives donations from Altria?  Yeah, nothing suspicious there).

This reminds me of the arguments for the 1st Amendment.  The test isn’t with speech with which you agree, it is instead protecting speech with which you completely and utterly disagree.  It is with speech so vile you’d prefer to shut them up but know if you do, then you’ve given others permission to shut you up.

I don’t smoke but I’ll defend to the death your right to smoke, as long as you don’t violate any of my rights by doing so.

But Big Government – yeah, no way.

Forward.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Print
  • Google Bookmarks

51 Responses to Why limiting the power of government should be every citizen’s first priority

  • A thousand little points of blight…  People with power cannot leave things alone.  They have to find ways to “improve” things for the rest of us.  Not them, generally.  The rest of us.

    • Perhaps, but I think a good way to begin limiting their power is to begin limiting their importance. When it is illegal to buy policy, their importance will diminish and corporations, industries, and unions will have to focus their energies (and money) elsewhere.
      There are plenty of people who would be willing to serve as elected officials (with league minimum of $135k salary and ammazing benefits) even if they were legally precluded from accepting enrichment as lobbyists for 10 years after their last term, and no longer being allowed to fund their lifestyle with campaign cash. It will never be perfect, but I think it would be better.
      Do people realize that Congress Critters can, and do, take lavish trips, stay in opulent hotels, enjoy ridiculously opulent DC restaurants, all with campaign cash, but staying within the letter of the law by just making sure to ask someone for more campaign money while they are at it?
      We’d be better served paying them a cool million a year and precluding them from being supported by their clients.

      • When it is illegal to buy policy, their importance will diminish and corporations, industries, and unions will have to focus their energies (and money) elsewhere.

        So, this is just an appeal to do away with political speech via an attack on Citizens United.  Got it.
        You don’t want LESS power in Washington…you want the right people using it.  That ignores human nature, history, and reason.  Same old-same old.

        • Thank you for providing a real time example of my point. You are correct that pointing to the Citizens United decision immediately turns this into a right vs. left debate changing an issue that hurts us all into an issue that is defended by a large portion of the electorate. And yet, somehow we managed to become the greatest nation on earth while corporations were legally precluded from participating in the political process.

          Recently, SCOTUS said a special political dues assessment during the summer of 2005 by the Service Employee International Union of all the state employees it represented–both union and non-union members–was an “indefensible” violation of non-members First Amendment rights to not be forced into “compelled speech and compelled association.” The decision was basically that political speech (read money) needed to be approved by each member in order to be collected and spent. And yet, on the other side of the equation, corporate shareholders are not required to approve of their property being used for political speech without their consent.

          I happen to agree with the SCOTUS conservative majority in the union case, even though opponents of the decision believe it stifles political speech, except that I don’t think it goes far enough. I think all union political spending should require the approval of each member who is paying for the political speech. I would also agree with them if they were to decide to that corporate political speech needed to be approved by each shareholder. It would be perfectly Constitutional, and would be no more or less of an infringement of speech than the limit placed upon unions.

          Do you think McQ is complaining about something else? His complaint is the same as mine, the sale of legislation. Do you think Baucus would have inserted this client reward if he hadn’t been paid to do so?

          • To be clear in many states you are forced to join a union in some shops, or forced to pay dues to the union in states with closed shop rules since the union is ‘bargaining’ on your behalf (cough cough) even if you’re not a member of the union.  In fact, that’s the very case the Supremes ruled on.  The Supremes restored your ‘choice’ in how your money is spent.

            You always have that option with stock – You can sell your stock in Himmelstrasse, Himmelstrasse and Borman when you find out they’ve decided to use their corporate wealth to support the Hitler Jugend candidate for Senate this year.

            The two are not the same – a stock holder (paying attention) always has a say in the matter in that they can shop their cash, and political support, elsewhere by divestiture.

            But I don’t think we’re talking Citizens United here.   It’s just another case of (very clear cut) Crony Capitalism.   In kind donations (support via media) aren’t precisely the same as cash donations to a campaign.

          • Do you think McQ is complaining about something else?

            I dunno…maybe “Why limiting the power of government should be every citizen’s first priority” could provide a clue?
            Even to the clueless.

          • And yet, somehow we managed to become the greatest nation on earth while corporations were legally precluded from participating in the political process.

            Your history is about as sound as Obama’s.  You might want to check on that statement.  Then, recheck it.

          • Well that was a good reply.  I would agree with limiting the political expenditures of entities such as companies but only if you do the same for unions, NGO’s, pacs and everything else which is not an individual.

            But that would now need a constitutional amendment so it aint happening.

          • “Buying policy” used to be called bribery in the pre-politically-correct days.
            Does anyone know when “lobbying” came into being in the US? From day ONE!!

      • “When it is illegal to buy policy,”

        I believe it’s called bribery, and it’s already illegal. Of course telling the difference between bribery and innocent financial support of a candidate is tough to do. As is discerning the objective difference between a client and a constituent. “My supporters are constituents merely excercising their free speech rights but your supporters are clients buying  policy” is so boring.

        • I believe it’s called bribery, and it’s already illegal.

          Yes and no! Theft is illegal UNLESS done through tax policy.
          It’s all semantics.

  • I
    could not agree more with the sentiment. In fact, this is a perfect example of
    what has become my sole political interest anymore.

    To
    be sure, I am still the same old liberal you have known and loved (okay known),
    but any and all of my policy interests are irrelevant in the face of a
    government that has become little more than a legislative yard sale for any and
    all comers (right, left, but mostly just self-interests).

    It’s
    been called regulatory capture and corporate socialism, but I think the most
    accurate term, both by definition and politically, is “client politics” “which
    according to James Q. Wilson, “occurs when most or all of the benefits of a
    program go to some single, reasonably small interest (and industry, profession,
    or locality) but most or all of the costs will be borne by a large number of
    people (for example, all taxpayers).” 
    (James Q. Wilson, Bureaucracy, 1989, at 76).

    We can argue policy disputes between the Republicans and
    Democrats all day long, but in my view, it is pointless, as long as policy is
    for sale, we are debating which side of the tip of the iceberg we want to
    shave, with no effect on the mass below the surface.

    I would greatly prefer to have honest conservative policy
    (or liberal) over the current environment, because the current environment
    offers only lip service to genuine policy decisions that could be made, and
    really only offers client favors with pretty words.

    When someone on the right, such as Bruce McQuain in this
    piece, brings up this topic, it is under the auspices of needing smaller
    government. When someone on the left brings it up, it is under the auspices of reducing
    corporate access to power. Even though they are really the same thing, that
    divide pits citizens against each other in the fight for the same thing.

    But why are there a million blogs sucking up to the
    right, and a million blogs sucking up to the left, and a couple dozen saying
    right and left don’t matter, only changing the system to allow our elected
    representatives to make decisions based on the interests of their constituency
    instead of their clients?

    I’ll suggest an answer; there is little fame, fortune, or
    readership in focusing on the real problem. It’s more fun to pick a side and
    trash the other.  It’s not Nero fiddling
    while Rome burns, it’s the Romans themselves.

    • …only changing the system to allow our elected representatives to make decisions based on the interests of their constituency instead of their clients?

      “You missed by that much…”, as Agent Smart used to say.  But a miss it was.
      We need to change the system to allow INDIVIDUALS to make decisions to the maximum extent possible, which means devolving power OUT of government at all levels.
      Markets do that, when we let them.

      • No, no miss. If we choose to elect people who do less rather than more, I am fine with that, as long as that is what they believe their constiuents want. Today, even people who call themselves small government conservatives are going to have to find bills to insert their clients rewards, or they won’t have any clients, and with no clients, they are out of a job.

        • I call your “clients v. constituents” dichotomy false.  An old Collectivist trick, in fact.

    • ” it’s the Romans themselves.”

      Nailed it.

    • When someone on the right, such as Bruce McQuain in this
      piece, brings up this topic, it is under the auspices of needing smaller
      government. When someone on the left brings it up, it is under the auspices of reducing
      corporate access to power. Even though they are really the same thing, that
      divide pits citizens against each other in the fight for the same thing.

      Sorry, Cap, but no, it isn’t the same thing.

      The difference is this – when government controls a large portion of the economy, no amount of rules, regulations, laws that supposedly limit access to power, or anything else will stop manipulation of the system for private gain. It’s like trying to sweep back the ocean. The attraction of that much money and power will cause the problem to ooze around any limits you choose to put on it.

      Incentives on elected representatives won’t help either. Giving them a million bucks doesn’t curb their appetite for wielding power, I think. It’s more likely to whet it.

      A certain percentage of people are born with the desire to tell other people what to do, that is, to attain and wield power. This should not be a surprise; people evolved in tribal units that needed leadership. In today’s economy, we don’t need as much direct wielding of power, but that doesn’t change people’s desire to do it. And, not surprisingly, someone who feels that inner right and desire to tell others what to do will find rationalizations for it. Those rationalizations are a lot easier to come by on the political left, so it should not surprise us that the left contains more people who want to “run the world” so to speak. They need allies and resources, and they will rationalize anything to get those. If they need to hand out favors, well, that’s just part of wielding power, isn’t it?

      Certainly, the right isn’t immune to that problem. The rationalizations on the right for telling other people what to do often come from religion, for example, and the establishment GOP is almost as deeply into crony capitalism as the Democrats (though whether such establishment Republicans are really “on the right” needs some semantic discussion.

      But the left is where the large scale desire to “run the world” naturally finds a home. As best as I can tell, outside the bedroom, the left sees no limits on what government, i.e. themselves and others like them, can do to boss the rest of us around.

      The answer is not to try and find constraints or whatever to keep these people in line. It’s to reduce the size of the area over which they have control. Until that happens, the other efforts for “good government” or “getting money out of politics” or whatnot are just ridiculous pipe dreams.

      • This reminds me of the famous definition of government, those folks who “… have the monopoly on the use of force.”
        Government can force you, corporations can’t.

      • This “left” and “right” nonsense should have been dispensed with when the French Revolution was a few decades gone.  It’s a horrible metric, particularly when someone attempts to squash libertarians and religious fundamentalists into the same pigeonhole.
        That said:

        As best as I can tell, outside the bedroom, the left sees no limits on what government, i.e. themselves and others like them, can do to boss the rest of us around.

        They haven’t stayed out of our bedrooms.  They demand that I pay for what you do in your bedroom, and vice versa.  “Free” birth control is now mandatory.
        As ObamaPelosiCareTax catches fire and costs start exploding, what’s to prevent them from mandating (taxing) that everyone have periodic STD and pregnancy tests under the guise of controlling costs?  Or, mandating (taxing) drug tests to cut down on the cost of drug abuse and addiction?
        Some of the more strident feminists have already found common cause with religious prudes who want to ban pornography, strip clubs, etc..  In Houston, they’ve even instituted a “pole tax”.  (They should put up billboards with brutalized women saying, “Help me catch the man who raped me.  Go to your local strip club.”  Or maybe a stern nun declaring, “Stop going to those sinful strip clubs!  You don’t want to help rape victims, do you?”)  The feminists almost all vote Democrat and side with the collectivists (“leftists” if you must).

    • it is pointless, as long as policy is for sale
      This all goes back to a statement that I read a few years ago now, when a Progressive came back with …

      … can’t we all agree that it’s about dividing up the spoils

      Well, it’s not.   Dividing up the spoils is the problem.
      Dividing up the spoils isn’t about the “common good or general welfare.”

      • ” “common good or general welfare.””
        They don’t believe any of us really try and MEAN that when we say it.

        Let’s take our classic progressive idiot – Erb doesn’t genuinely believe that I don’t want him to suffer high taxes to pay for crap he doesn’t like, or his children to be controlled by government rules and regulations when I protest taxes or government intrusion.  He thinks it’s a front intended to benefit me alone.

      • Well, it’s not.   Dividing up the spoils is the problem.
        Dividing up the spoils isn’t about the ‘common good or general welfare.’

        Elections aren’t a means to divide up the spoils.  They are a winner-takes-all proposition.  The politicians in the Coke party and their cronies get the spoils when their side wins.  The same is true for the politicians in the Pepsi party and their cronies.  Oftentimes, the cronies of Coke and Pepsi overlap quite a bit as big-money contributors hedge their bets and give to both sides.
        Meanwhile, the people who vote Coke or Pepsi, but who are not politically connected, tend not to get any spoils.
        When civilized people have problems and opportunities, they can forgo the use of force and sit down to negotiate arrangements which are beneficial to all parties.  In such a case, there are no “spoils” because no one is plundered, but enters into the agreement to gain from it.  It’s not a winner-take-all scenario, but a win-win.
        Notions like “the common good” or “general welfare” are examples of the Fallacy of the Collective.  They are a fiction.

    • I’ll suggest an answer; there is little fame, fortune, or
      readership in focusing on the real problem. It’s more fun to pick a side and
      trash the other.

      Or maybe to defend certain principles.
      Trying attaining some, rather than engaging in the conduct you whine about above.

  • Cap, you’re missing the point.  Reducing the amount of influence for sale reduces the amount that can be sold.  Simply declaring it to be illegal to sell influence does nothing.
     

    • Precisely.   If bribing you won’t help me, there’s no point in my bribing you.   In Baucus’s case, they probably spent longer haggling over the price than they did looking for a place to buy.

      AND it highlights another continuous problem – what do cigarettes have to do with TRANSPORTATION?   They continue to take what I perceive to be a flaw – legislation that has nothing to do with the legislation being passed, and turning it into a primary feature of government.

    • Pshaw! Supply-side political theory! All us smart folks know that only demand-side stuff works.

  • The power to meddle for whatever reason will always be used. Does it matter if the reason is corruption, monetary, stupidity or a wrong sense of needing to do something? Nanny Bloomberg shows quite well that you can be an inveterate meddler and right taker without getting corp donations. If you reduce their power the money flow will automatically decrease

  • 46 state AGs made a deal with Altria (Philip Morris at the time), Reynolds, Loews, and others in 98(maybe 97?) that in exchange not suing the cos to regain Medicare expenses from treating smoking related diseases, the cos would pay $250B to the 46 states over 25 years. The payments are based on sales so anyting that affects sales, e.g. cheap RYO cigs, Indian reservation cigs, etc…, affects those payments. The money was supposed (hah, hah, hah) to go for smoking cessation efforts but quickly got folded into general funds. Many states securitized the payments streams at a discount in order to at the money even faster. Altria doesn’t want competition from lighter taxed cigs and the states, e.g. MT, want their payments, hence their attacks on RYO. I own tens of thousands of shares of MO and PM (yes, really, accumulated over 20 years) and enjoy their dividends which come from legalized addiction to a legal product consumed by adults of their own free will. Instead of attacking RYO, Baucus should simply work to drop the exise tax rates on cigarettes so that people did not feel the need to flock to RYO…but that would make too much sense.

  • I
    guess the crux of the debate is whether access is creating the power or power
    is making the access valuable.

    I
    believe it is the former, access to government by unlimited dollars is creating
    the power because it is capable of creating true bi-partisan corruption. This
    Baucus deal is a good example, but it’s a silly mistake to pretend that only
    Max Baucus is a party to this clear attempt (I guess now it is no longer an
    attempt but a fait acompli) of big business using big government to reduce
    small competition. The majority of the House-Senate Conference Committee
    approved of this language, and a majority of the D majority Senate and the R
    majority Congress approved this bill.

    No
    one in Congress can stand up in the face of corruption when they see it,
    because for the most part, they are all doing it. Max served his client here,
    and got bipartisan majority approval, and when it’s someone else’s turn, Max
    will vote for the other guy’s payback.

    We
    won’t even stop influence, but I the old days better, when it involved bags
    full of cash and jail time. Today the bags full of cash are legal, and they are
    much, much bigger bags.

    And
    to those who think corporations are people, or should have the rights of
    citizens, I would simply point you to American history, when corporations were
    chartered by states with VERY strict controls (by charter) on what they could
    do. For nearly 100 years, almost every state in the union had provisions in
    their code chartering corporations that it was unlawful for the corporations to
    engage in political spending.

    The Supreme Court of Virginia stated in 1809 that if an
    applicant for a corporate charter’s “object is merely private or selfish; if it
    is detrimental to, or not promotive of, the public good, they have no adequate
    claim upon the legislature for the privileges.” A comparison of state laws from
    the early 1800’s shows that corporations had limits on capitalization, debts,
    land holdings, and sometimes profits. They could not own stock in other
    corporations, could not have their headquarters outside their chartering state,
    nor could they keep their financial books closed to public representatives or
    make political or charitable contributions. In dramatic contrast to today,
    corporate stockholders and directors were often held personally responsible for
    crimes and harms they committed and debts they incurred under the name of the
    corporation.

    No court ever determined that a state did not have the right
    to place these limitations (which were very much in keeping with the Founding Father’s
    ideals) on corporations within the charters. But what happened instead was that
    states, in their desire to bring corporate cash to their states, competed to
    make more and more lax restrictions in the charters.

    Please don’t to rewrite history, corporations were
    prohibited from participating in politics for quite a long time, and I think
    America was better for it.

    • Send some support for that crap.

    • I guess the crux of the debate is whether access is creating the power or power is making the access valuable.

      I don’t think those are mutually exclusive. I think both are in play, and they reinforce one another. That synergy between the two is one of the main factors leading to out of control government.
      What’s missing is hard limits on what government is allowed to do. Without those, that unholy alliance of politicians and favor seekers can’t be broken.

      • I read a complaint that reducing the influence of money would require a Constitutional Amendment, but it wouldn’t, states could do it in the corporate charters, and they could do it ex-post-facto. But let’s say it did require a Constitutional Amendment. What would be required to limit what laws the federal legislature could be allowed to pass?

    • “…object is merely private or selfish;…”

      I don’t know what context this is taken out of, and I ain’t doing the work to find out, but your useage of this is just plain silly. Why do you think  real people form corporations?

      By the way, you do know that federal law and state law are different, right?

      • The vast majority of corporations are chartered by states, it was an area intentionally left mostly to the states with a few exceptions. And regardless of whether the federal government could or could not preclude corporation from political spending, states can by charter make political particpationg a criminal act by a corporation, and this was a very common prohibition for corporations for much of our nation’s fist hundred years. Those prohibitions would apply to any political spending. As to the Constitutionality of prohibiting corporate political spending, they same logic used in the SEIU case could apply, yes, corporations can spend any money they want on political messaging, but every shareholder must approve.
        I have not even touched on how foreign interests can invade our political system using corporate spending, but really, do y’all think a multi-national corporation should have the same rights (but millions of times the resources) and of individual American citizens?

        • “this was a very common prohibition for corporations for much of our nation’s fist hundred years”

          As Ragspierre said, how about some support for that sweeping statement. Reliable source, not an encyclopedia of case law from 1906. Perhaps the actual statutes prohibiting such conduct, since you seem to be partial to historical legal research.
          By the way, your first source also states that corporations were only a small percentage of business entities back then, so any such restriction on corporations  would be fairly useless.

          “…foreign interests can invade our political system…”

          I believe political donations from foreign entities are already forbidden by law. Except for Clintons, of course.

      • Tim, I know it is anachronistic, but it’s also true, corporations were viewed as a danger in the early days of the United States. The Boston Tea Party resulted from the Stamp Act, and the Stamp Act resulted from a vote in Parliament, and that vote in parliament was made to benefit the Royally charted East Indies Corporation, which 90% of the members of Parliament were shareholders.
        “But charters and corporations have a more extensive evil effect than what relates merely to elections. They are sources of endless contentions in places where they exist, and they lessen the common rights of national society” –Thomas Paine The Rights of Man
        “The growing wealth aquired by them [corporations] never fails to be a source of abuses.”
        –President James Madison
        “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.” –Thomas Jefferson
        and of course, the first Republican – “The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.” Abraham Lincoln

        • Like I said…crackpot bullshit.
          You ALMOST got to the Jooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooos.  Pure OWS crap.

        • Wait wait, now you’ve gone from buying influence to Corporations buying influence.  Should I be more afraid of Warren Buffet, the Koch brothers and George Soros, or should I be afraid of their corporations Cap?

          Explain to me how one is different than the other when it comes to buying influence.

          • Looker, what Capitanus has done is deflect this thread from LIMITING THE POWER OF GOVERNMENT to limiting the speech of people combined in one single form of human organization.
            While PRETENDING to agree with the premise of the McQ piece.
            This is what Collectivists do.
             

          • There does seem to be a, uh, drift towards limiting corporate influence, emphasized more than merely limiting ALL influence.
            I assume once we’ve reversed Citizens that the hosts of shows on MSNBC and CNN and ABC and NBC and CBS and FOX will be required by law to limit their time on the air to “READING” the news.  We can do away with ‘opinion’ shows and analysis shows of all stripes, yes?

          • See my other comment, I used the historical  restrictions on corporations as an example. My overall position is support of the publicly financed elections.

        • As I mentioned in a previous comment, there were very few corporations in the early days of the US. Evidently other business forms could spend money on politics without ill effect. Not very logical, but every politician needs a boogeyman, I guess. Like the “money powers of the country” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

          • The period Capitanus cites us to was prior to the steamboat.  200 years ago.
            Things have kinda evolved, among them the legal system in parallel with a VAST development in American enterprise.
            People have found immense utility in the business forms they have developed, not least of which was the ability to attract, use, and grow capital in rational ways.
            Which, ironically, is ONE big reason why our economy will not turn around any time before this regime is brought down.  Capital formation is at a historic low in the US.
             

  • “The period Capitanus cites us to was prior to the steamboat. ”
    I suppose that is an improvement over the previous claim that I was just lying.

    In early America, corporations were not trusted, as evidenced by the words of the Founders themselves, and by the charters of early corporations, which often existed within very tight constraints.

    My original point was that for much of our nations first century, corporations were prohibited by charter from participating in the political system, and we got along just fine with them. For much of our second century, corporation participation was severely restricted, though not completely prohibited, and again we got along fine. They wielded influence, to be sure, but I am of the position that elected officials were not completely beholden to special interests as they are today.
    With our elected officials spending 30% of their time raising money, and having lifestyles in Washington DC that (unless they are filthy rich already) positively requires campaign finance cash to with which to pay for that lifestyle. You just can’t eat at restaurants that charge $185.00 for a steak when you make $135k a year. But you can and much more if you can pay for it with campaign cash, and all you need to do to make subsidizing your lifestyle with campaign cash legal is to ask someone for money between sips of $1000.00 champagne.
    I pointed to corporations to make a point about corporations, but my interest in taking the for sale sign off Congress is by no means limited to corporations. I would include unions, and any other groups where the cash is not specifically contributed for the poltical purpose. Ultimately, I would support public financing of elections, not to prohibit private financing, but to make it pointless to make the investment. If we taxpayers spent a paltry few billions every election cycle, we the taxpayers could regain control over the trillions that are being controlled by people who represent special interests rather than their constituents.

    If the money were equal, I’d trust that the best candidate would win more often that not, and I really could not care less whether liberals or conservatives win. I’ll take an unpurchased conservative over any liberal in Congress today who has to raise money through the current system.

    • They wielded influence, to be sure, but I am of the position that elected officials were not completely beholden to special interests as they are today.

      Again, you are completely without historical support here.  And even rational support NOW.  You simply make these sweeping, general, FALSE statements.
      And, again, you are deflecting from the thread theme.  SHRINK government.  Typical Collectivist poseur.

    • “My original point was that for much of our nations first century, corporations were prohibited by charter from participating in the political system, and we got along just fine with them”

      Still no evidence to support this claim. Surely you can produce at least one of these alleged charters. Also, for much of our nation’s first century there was not much of a political system to participate in, so why would they want to participate?

      • The excellent and very well researched little book The Myth Of The Robber Barons shows that very early in our history, government was providing to cronies what Adam Smith always said it would…subsidies and grants of protection from market forces.
        That had the same general effect we still see it having today…every time we let it.  Ruin, waste, and increased costs imposed on consumers.

michael kors outlet michael kors handbags outlet michael kors factory outlet