Law Professor Eric Posner Says McCutcheon Decision Harms the Wealthy

Law Professor Eric Posner writes here that the McCutcheon v Federal Election Commission decision from the U.S. Supreme Court actually injures wealthy individuals. Thanks to HowAppealing for the link.


Law Professor Eric Posner Says McCutcheon Decision Harms the Wealthy — No Comments

  1. OMG!!! Injured wealthy people!

    Set up a Red Cross shelter immediately! Organize a spaghetti dinner.

    Something! For godssakes will someone help those poor injured wealthy people?

  2. Bullshit.

    That “point” is bullshit, and there is no better way of describing it.


    You want to believe bullshit? Go right ahead. But when someone tells you that somehow wealthy people are “injured” because they are allowed use more of their money to get people elected who will represent their business interests, they are bullshitting you. And if you tell me that money doesn’t empower those who have millions to spend to get politicians elected who are supportive of their business interests, you are bullshitting me.

    Do you think the European aristocracy were not empowered in the 17th century? No? Stick around. You may get to test that theory in this country.

  3. Are you saying the notion that politicians can bully donors is bullshit? Did you actually read the article? The author clearly articulates that while the wealthy can achieve more influence now (your point), politicians with a thug mentality can extort more from donors. It’s a two way street.

  4. I read the article, all of it. All the way down to the suggestion that we think about this ruling as a “tax on millionaires.”

    Gee…poor schlubs. Again, some sympathy please for the uber wealthy.

    Corruption does indeed work both ways, and at the root if corruption is money. Money buys power, money buys influence, and money has bought politicians for as long as there have been politicians. HOWEVER, relaxing the legal constraints that we put on the flow of money into politics does nothing to solve that problem.

    Or are you ready to make that assertion as well?

    Posner’s suggestion seems to be – “Rich people run this joint. Hey…live with it.”

    Sre you happy with that? Are you a multi-millionaire?

  5. As DSZ says, the buying and selling of influence is a two way street. But the millionaires are the ones who built it. I’m not shedding any tears.

  6. How many of the gazillionaires are rich due to minority rule gerrymander special interest gang laws — aka monarchy / oligarchy laws ???

    See the EVIL jealous Cain killing his wealthy brother Abel in that old book aka the Bible — which means ZERO to communists.

    Any thing new and different since the 1917-1991 dead communist USSR regime ??? — now in Russia attack mode – Crimea takeover, etc.
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V. — to quickly get more regimes divided into communist and free market nations.
    Gee – which type of regime will survive ???

  7. Bob…the point is not whether millionaires will get squeezed for bigger donations by corrupt politicians. That’s farther from any point Americans should worry about, and that’s why Posner’s article is just so much crap. Have the conservatives so muddled the issue of what free speech is and who or what is entitled to it that we can’t tell the differene between speech and corruption, and shrug away the problem because millionaires will have to pay more to buy their politicians?

    Opening the faucets that pour money into the political process is not the answer to polticial corruption. Closing them is.

  8. Was the system pre-McCain-Feingold worse than what we have now? Having to give to candidates rather than parties directly ties millionaires to those in a position of influence. The mentality of campaign finance control has allowed the American people to be steamrolled by special interests and millionaires – now someone can pretty much buy legislation. Just look at the number of criminal convictions in the Savings and Loan crisis vs. the 2008 Great Recession. A system of party-based funding isn’t perfect (nothing is) but at least it makes it far more difficult to buy lawmakers. It works in most of Europe so why are we so exceptional as to be exempt from its consequences? The main side effect of it is less dissension within a party/greater pressure to tow the party line to have access to funds. This is both a good and bad thing – bad because one could argue it limits speech and debate within a party, good because it leads to less extremism (one would be hard-pressed to envision a scenario in which the Tea Party flourishes in the pre- McCain-Feingold GOP). Public funding schemes have already been enacted in many states and have proven ineffectual – they mainly just further entrench the major parties. Our political finance system doesn’t have to be so different from the majority of the West – the trope of American exceptionalism is an oddity you’ll find few serious modern historians promote, but perhaps if you have been listening to Newt Gingrich enough you’ve been seduced by this fairytale.

  9. The campaign finance stuff in the 1970s was due to the various de facto paper money bribes paid to the Prez Nixon regime. Thus – the reporting stuff about *donations*.

    The SCOTUS *quid pro quo* MORONS apparently never heard about BRIBERY

    — note USA Const Art. II, Sec. 4 (all sorts of BRIBERY in the old British regimes from domestic and foreign folks).

  10. I’m not sure I disagree with you. A few basic questions for you, if I may:

    1) Do you believe that we, collectively, have any right to place limitations on how much money an individual my donate to a political candidate, a political party, a PAC, or a Super PAC?
    2) Do you believe that we, collectively, have any right to require that the sources and recipients be a matter of public record?
    3) Do you believe that any expenditure of money an expression of free political speech, or is it possible that some expenditures can be considered, at their core, commercial transactions?
    4) Do you believe that we, collectively, have any right to regulate commercial transactions?

    To answer your first question more generally, I don’t believe we have ever had ANY system of campaign finance regulation that has been effective…IF…the objectives of instituting campaign finance regulation are to ensure that no political party(ies) have exclusive access to the ballots, and that no individual(s) can effectively monopolize the political process by virtue of their wealth.

    Posner’s article is, in my view, an intentional obfuscation. He intentionally conflates the two separate issues of campaign finance and political corruption, essentially telling us about campaign finance “Nothing to see here, folks…it’s political corruption you ought to be worried about, and since this decision will make it easier for corrupt politicians to hold up wealthy people for more money you ought to rejoice – corruption will cost them more now! Oh…and by the way, there’s nothing you can do about political corruption.”

    Well, yes there is…but it’s NOT increasing the amount of money (or, “free speech,” as Scalia, Roberts and Richard Winger call it) that can be put into the political process.

  11. If the people who don’t like our current system would put more effort into fighting to pass HR 20, it might pass. I support HR 20 (public funding for congressional candidates) and my member of the US House, Nancy Pelosi, is the prime sponsor. Has Baron done anything to help pass that bill?

  12. No, Baron has not, because Baron does not support public funding of elections.

    Baron thinks that the right approach to the problem is to significantly regulate campaign expenditures, as follows:

    1) Require that all donations in excess of $500 to political parties and campaigns must be a matter of public record.
    2) Ban PACS and Super PACS entirely.
    3) Allow only contributions to the campaigns of individuals running for an office in an election in which the donor, at the time of the donation, would be eligible to vote. (this presumes that the USSC does not give the franchise to corporate “persons”). Unions? Tough. Get your members to make their donations on their own. Corporations? Stick to selling your goods and services. Stay out of our political process.
    4) Cap those donations at some INSANELY high numbers. Let’s say $50,000 for any federal office, $10,000 for any state office, and $1,000 for any municipal office. You want to quibble about the limits, I’m open to reasonable increases over these limits. Maybe a few thousand bucks per year.
    5) Require that all candidates for public office be personally liable for the debts left behind by their campaigns.
    6) Require that any balances left in campaign accounts at the conclusion of the election be surrendered to the treasury of whatever govermental unit the candidate sought to represent.
    7) Prohibit transfers of any amounts between campaigns. Sorry Hillary…settle your own debts. Just a for instance.
    8) Prohibit any use of federally regulated media by other than candidate’s campaigns or political parties, UNLESS the use of the media is by an individual, and that individual is featured and named in the advert, and takes personal responsibility for the content of the advert. In this case, the Koch brothers would be free to spend their entire fortune, if they chose to do so, as longs as we see their faces in the ad so that we know who they are.

    I hope this answers your question, Richard.

    And just so that there is no mistake here, I do not believe that MONEY representts free speech.

    But you do. And that’s where you are dead wrong, and so is the USSC, and if any one of the Founding Fathers could be resurrected, I’m quite sure he would agree with me. Not that the opinions of an 18th century colonial hold any special weight at my address, mind you.

  13. Incumbents LOVE having their opponents get limited donations and thus have limited spending to attack the incumbents.

  14. If either of Posner’s models has a grain of truth (or the two in any combination), the decision is still unacceptable. If Model 1 is true, the decision promotes bribery; if 2, extortion. Either way, the SCOTUS fosters more corruption. Whether you want to call it a tax or not, this corrupt decision disempowers ordinary people.

  15. Daniel –

    That depends on how you determine what makes a person “ordinary.” If, in order to be ordinary, one needs to have a few million in loose cash in the bank, then you are wrong. The majority of this USSC has a depraved lust for the interests of super wealthy Americans, and a callous disregard for the fortunes of the rest of us. These attitudes together can only be fairly described as un-democratic and un-American.

  16. Right on! I meant by “√∂rdinary” what you mean by “the rest of us,” if it wasn’t obvious.

  17. Yes, it was obvious. To most of us, anyway.

    To others it’s not so clear, for some reason, that we’re moving quickly back to the age of the robber barons.

  18. We passed the Robber Barron in 2008 when Congress voted to bailout the banks at the expense of the tax payers. The real robber barron’s aren’t the wealthy donors, the real robber barron’s are already in Congress

  19. Brandon. Dear, deluded, Brandon…

    There are precisely two things that the Koch brothers want out of government. Lower taxes and less regulation. That’s it.

    The bailout perpetrated by your apparent enemy…the gub-ment…was precipitated by an economic collapse that resulted from…a lack of regulation of the financial markets. Which is what the super wealthy want, and why they want to pour more of their money into our political process.

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