‘Super PACs’ aren’t a cause of the high cost of elections | Letter to the Editor
November 20, 2012 · 4:04 PM
A Nov. 16 editorial in the Redmond Reporter called shame on the cost of elections, while completely misunderstanding the cause. “Super PACs” are not a cause of the high cost of elections — they are a consequence.
The differing sides in the recent election spoke of different themes and objectives for government. The major disagreements include: increased spending versus reduced spending; intrusiveness into the lives of citizens for the sake of progressive agendas versus for the sake of socially conservative agendas versus opposition to intrusiveness for any agenda; increased regulation of the economy versus reduction of regulation of the economy. The definition and scope of what should be considered private is hotly disputed by various factions.
These are important differences. No observant person should be surprised at the intensity of the election efforts. To expect persons and organizations that will be affected greatly by the results of an election to fail to spend effort and money to influence that election is crazy talk. “Super PACs” are the latest attempt by people that care greatly about the results of an election to comply with the current rules about how funds may be accumulated and spent. Would the Redmond Reporter prefer that people don’t care about the results of an election? Would the Redmond Reporter prefer that people do not put their money where their mouth is in their support of the political causes in which they believe? If so, such expectation is irrational.
The cause of the cost of elections is the enormous power in the hands of government at all levels, and the fact that people and organizations care about the result. There is a lot at stake — in dollars of government spending and in the ability to use government to further the objectives of those elected. If the scope and intrusiveness of government is reduced, then elections will loom much less in people’s lives, cost less and involve less harsh contention. If government remains intrusive and new layers of regulation are added to the election process, people that care will find new legal mechanisms to try to influence their fellow voters. Then those that fail to understand the causes of expensive elections will rail against whatever new organizational forms are devised in response to the new regulations.
The Redmond Reporter editorial board should invest time and effort to understanding the cause of the boogeyman they deplore — lest they advocate something that makes the current situation worse.
John deGroot, Redmond