The Walkerville Weekly Reader

National Desk: Hard-hitting journalism from your completely un-biased (pinky swear!) reporters in Walkerville, VA.

Walkerville, VA
Monday, April 22, 2024
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Moneyballing election reform: more taxes, less corruption

American academic: reduce political corruption by creating government campaign fund.

Lawrence Lessig mash: Lawrence Lessig rolls an imaginary ball.

“If you take all the money and mash it together, it transforms into vouchers, purifying it of corruption and making it suitable to be handled by politicians.” (By Joi via Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY 2.0)

According to Harvard Law academic and political activist Lawrence Lessig, the United States can reduce political corruption by granting incumbent politicians power over whose congressional campaigns are funded.

Lessig describes this as a “moneyball approach” because it defies conventional logic.

Under the Lessig “Grants of Franklins” plan, each American’s taxes go up by fifty dollars. This money goes into a government fund of “Democracy Vouchers” that are then distributed to congressional candidates by the government at the request of the taxpayer. Unused vouchers would go to the political party to which the taxpayer is registered, or, if the taxpayer is unregistered, to a government Democracy In America program managed by elder statesmen and respected journalists.

Candidates who use Democracy Vouchers would be forbidden from accepting other sources of funding except (1) contributions from citizens, capped at $100, and (2) contributions from news organizations, insofar as such contributions can be disguised as news coverage.

Lessig said that he feels so strongly about publicly funded elections that he voted for John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008.

Asked how government funding would allow newcomers to challenge an incumbent’s power to make news, Lessig replied “that is exactly the kind of misconception that we’re trying to counter.”

Lessig explained that “the best cure for corruption is lifetime appointments. Without elections there is no need for corruption. Government funding will move us one step closer to incorruptible officials.”

“People have this impression that we’re against corruption because we want to make elections more fair for challengers. Nothing could be further from the truth. If that’s what we wanted to achieve, we could achieve it by advocating opening up free speech, not closing it down. We could achieve it by advocating allowing individual citizens to band together to counter the mainstream media outside the bounds of a government-managed funding stream. We could even advocate lowering taxes so that citizens have more money to spend on their favorite candidates, and politicians have less to manipulate from the public purse.”

“We do not advocate those things. Those are partisan arguments in a political debate. We prefer the objective approach of advocating higher taxes, more government programs, and an even tighter bond between political parties and government. That’s non-partisan election reform. Everyone in DC supports it.”

  1. <- Abstinent Brady Campaign
  2. Thanksgiving campaign ->