In his April 12 letter to the editor, “Forget the Hype,” Thomas Knapp of the Center for a Stateless Society wants us to move along, nothing to see here regarding the McCutcheon campaign finance decision. He’d “settle for an end to the Chicken Little hype-fest that erupts every time a court declines to stop a few more drops of rain from falling in the veritable ocean” of campaign finance. He wrote that in 2013, an off-cycle year even for midterms, elected officials ran up $3.45 trillion in campaign costs. Trillion. Imagine the tab once the actual nominees are selected.
But that is ludicrous. Wikipedia places the U.S. GDP for 2013 at $17.4 Trillion; Knapp would have us believe that even with no major elections, campaign costs eat up 20 percent of our entire economy, 43 percent more than was collected by the IRS.
The Center for Responsive politics estimates that the highly contested 2012 election — Presidential and Congressional — cost $6.3 billion. That is under 2/10 of 1 percent of what Knapp claims for not even a midterm. While already too high, yes, allowing individual plutocrats to throw several millions each into a pool proves size does matter. We’re talking not about a gallon of chlorine in your pool, but a gallon of chlorine in your morning orange juice.
Knapp’s point, driven by fantasy numbers, is that we should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I disagree. Our voting choices are now informed by expensive media attack ads and flyers, unaccountable for their lies and untraceable to their sources. When someone says “look away,” we should pay close attention.
If money is speech, then free speech is worth exactly zero, and you have the right to remain silent.
Uh-Oh. Has it happened? Can it be true? Has Marty Moore finally awoken from a protracted dormancy from reality? Or has he finally flipped? I dunno, but his April 12 column “Difference Between Racism And Pandering” was one of his best articles to date. Congrats.