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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 28, 2007 / 9 Nissan, 5767

Campaign reform? Try campaign inflation

By Jonah Goldberg


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Billionaire Michael Bloomberg reportedly tells friends that his idea of good financial planning is to have his check to the undertaker bounce. "So," asks the Washington Post, "how does a billionaire spend all his money before he dies?" Well, "he just might drop a cool half-billion on a long-shot bid to become the nation's first modern president from outside the two major political parties."


Now, if you're the sort of person who thinks Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, is the man to save America, this column's probably not for you. So, the seven or eight of you who feel this way are excused from reading further. For the rest of us, the pressing question is, "What hath we wrought?"


Ten years ago, as veteran campaign finance reformer Mark Schmitt notes in the current issue of Democracy, the modern campaign finance movement was born. It was in 1996 that the nation witnessed its first billion-dollar election — when all of the federal races combined exceeded $1 billion in expenditures. It was also the year when Bill Clinton seemed to have rented out the White House to big donors and shady Chinese characters.


The next election probably won't need Chinese subtitles, but it's likely that $1 billion will be spent on the presidential campaign alone.


I have no objection to price inflation in political campaigns per se. More money means more communication, more debate, more education. In other words, more democracy.


When people say that politics has become too expensive, the correct response is "compared to what?" Americans spend between $200 billion and $300 billion on Christmas presents, $36 billion on their pets, $10 billion on pornography and more than $1 billion on toy action figures and accessories.


So a billion bucks on the next commander in chief may not be so crazy — assuming that more expensive means better quality.


What offends me is the primary reason for the inflation: campaign finance "reform." The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a.k.a. the McCain-Feingold law, passed in 2002, was supposed to improve the system by regulating the amount of money going into, and coming out of, politics. Campaigns could no longer belly up to big donors and instead had to go to thousands of smaller contributors. Nor could supporters write large checks (soft money) to the political party of their choice, but they could instead give money to third-party "527 groups" unregulated by campaigns or parties.


The reformers' thinking goes something like this, Schmitt writes: "Money is a bad thing that should be kept out of politics. 'Big money' is worse. 'Private money' is bad, 'public money' is good. Instead of asking, 'How can we encourage the kind of things we think are healthy for democracy?' ... They see the money move to another stream, and they try to dam that stream, then the next and the next."


This sort of thinking is guaranteed to lead to disappointment. Campaign finance reform doesn't keep money out of politics, as the price inflation demonstrates. It merely skews the market, making it harder for rookies and amateurs to get in and easier for the pros and incumbents to game the system.


It's a lot like government tuition aid. Intended to keep costs low, these programs have driven tuitions skyward. The richest kids can afford college without government help or big loans (and they can afford to pay for tutors in order to get into their preferred school), but few others can.


Similarly, the richest candidates or the candidates with the biggest war chests — surprise! they tend to be officeholders — love campaign finance reform because it burdens the competition. New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, a Democrat, largely bought his U.S. Senate seat with $68 million of his own money and his governorship with $43 million. In 2000, George W. Bush opted out of public funding for the primaries. He did it again in 2004, and John Kerry did, too. Seeing that the system holds back the suckers, Hillary Clinton has announced she's ditching public funding entirely. If Bloomberg runs, he might not even try to raise money.


"Campaign contributions from a single source that run to the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars are not healthy to a democracy," Sen. John McCain declared in 2001. "Is that not self-evident?"


Well, it's about as self-evident as the notion that having a candidate give himself $500 million to run for president is healthy for democracy. Which is where "reform" has gotten us.


Bloomberg fans might say: "Hey, it's a free country, why shouldn't he be able to blow his money on politics if he wants?" The answer is: He should be. The questions in response should be: Why aren't non-billionaires allowed to do the same thing? And: Why is it only OK when you're making donations to yourself?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


To comment on JWR contributor Jonah Goldberg's column click here.

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