Lefty Structuralists

Lessig makes a structuralist case against US Govcorp

Share this

Public Funding for Incumbents Only

He makes a good case for public funding. However, public funding potentially leaves the government in charge of choosing candidates -- autocracy vs. corruption.

A possible solution is public funding for incumbents only. If you are holding office, you cannot raise political funds, period. Opponents, however, can raise unlimited amounts to challenge, but cannot carry over such funds for re-election. Incumbents receive 50% of what the wealthiest challenger spent the last go-around. I say 50% since it takes money to raise money.

Challengers might push out incumbents by not challenging one year to push down the funds available later. So be it. This would be a form of term limits.

The other alternative would be to disallow fundraising while holding office but without public financing. This would eliminate re-election save for self-funded candidates. Not a bad idea for the Senate, but for the House, this might be too much turnover. (This option was my initial inclination until I came to grips with the idea that some institutional memory is a good thing, even for the House.)

How does public funding

How does public funding solve the problem of politicians and bureaucrats receiving cushy jobs/speaking gigs after they leave office?

Seconded. For an argument


For an argument that congresscritters really would vote the same way regardless of campaign contributions, see "Freedomnomics" (also this). The book it purports to attack, Freakonomics, argued that campaign spending has negligible impact on who actually wins elections. Finally, Bryan Caplan argues that lobbyists/"special interests" are being scapegoated for the faults of We the People. I'll acknowledge though that We the People would probably want our foolish legislation to be simple, and special interests likely make it more complicated. Not in all possible cases a bad thing, Garett Jones argues that earmarks actually reduce the size of government.

Yeah, price fixing always

Yeah, price fixing always works so well.

I don't understand how public funding is going to help

Generally things that are subsidized end up costing more.

His diagnosis is better than

His diagnosis is better than his medicine.