What’s going on in Washington these days? In four simple words — money is being spent. (Some would add "at the expense of our future," but we’ll leave that discussion for another time.)
Since there is such a spending frenzy, maybe Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin thinks no one will notice as he tries to add a few billions to the tab in the Fair Elections Now Act. Who will benefit from this economic rescue, bailout or stimulus plan? It’s Durbin and his colleagues. He (representatives John Larson of Connecticut and Walter B. Jones Jr. of North Carolina deserve their spotlight in the Hall of Shame for introducing similar legislation in their chamber) wants mandatory use of public resources (taxpayer dollars) to fund congressional campaigns.
Why is this a bad idea? Just a few of the many reasons:
- The presidential check-off system on tax returns never worked (it was voluntary; maybe that’s why Durbin wants to take your money without giving you a choice)
- Durbin wants to tax government contractors, putting them in a position of having to fund political candidates with whom they might be vigourously opposed. Never mind that little item called the First Amendment
- The House version calls for taking proceeds from Federal Communications Commission sales. This limited funding source is now being used to help reduce the ballooning federal deficit — a far more worthy cause
- Elimination of the need to have at least some good, solid ideas in order to attract local, private sector funding. Instead, under these plans, meet some minimal fundraising requirements and the public coffers are open for your use — or abuse
I could go on. The Heritage Foundation does in a strong rebuttal. But it’s bills like this that unfortunately make so many people have so little confidence in our elected leaders. What are they thinking?