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Money and Politics

On the way to making the argument that it is both impossible and wrong to limit the financing of political speech, one of the members of the official commentator class said this:

    Politics requires money. Try to purge politics of money and politics is crippled.

In practical terms he may be right, but this strikes me as weird. If “money talks” then what of the interests of those without money? Our pundit has anticipated the question and answered it this way:

    America is so wealthy that a competitive war chest can be amassed for almost any cause and interest (business, labor, the environment, poverty).

In other words, even the poor can pool their financial resources and find lobbyists or media consultants to speak for them in the marketplace of ideas. I have my doubts about whether it works this way, even more so when we take the idea to the international level.

America may be wealthy, but who is speaking for the common man in Ecuador or Indonesia? Somehow I don’t think that the leaders of a Nigerian peasant collective get the same kind of quality time with Paul Wolfowitz that Henry Kissinger or the oil companies do.

That doesn’t mean I know what to do about it, or have any solution for getting money out of politics.


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