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Real Campaign-Finance Reform

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Congress has recently engaged in another flurry of activity over ampaign-finance reform. Yet, congressmen never ask a fundamental question: Why shouldn’t people be free to do whatever they want with their own money, including donating whatever amounts they want to political candidates? The usual answer that congressmen give is: “That type of system would make us crooked and corrupt and we don’t want to be crooked and corrupt.”

But there’s another much more likely reason: Congressmen know that limits on the amount of campaign contributions protect incumbents from competition because their position, power, and influence are already worth millions of dollars in a political campaign.

Another fundamental question is: Why do people even wish to donate their hard-earned money to congressional candidates? The answer is: In order to receive the special, privileged benefits of the paternalistic welfare state and regulated society. Congressmen know that when government has the power to dole out either goodies (subsides, grants, welfare, and tax breaks) or baddies (regulations and increased taxes) to people, people will have the incentive to pay to receive the goodies or to avoid receiving the baddies.

The ultimate answer to campaign-finance reform, then, lies in restrictions on federal government power: Repeal the national income tax (and abolish the IRS), prohibit government from being in the charity business (dismantle socialistic, paternalistic welfare-state and regulatory programs), and leave people free to do whatever they want with their own money. After, all isn’t that what freedom and America were once all about?

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    Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.