11/14/2017

Money In Politics Apparently Isn't So Bad When Democrats Win

A. Barton Hinkle, Reason

When Democrats spend more and win, the campaign finance advantage doesn't come up as often.

Political experts have cited many reasons for Democrat Ralph Northam's huge win in Tuesday's elections. Credit has gone to the state's changing demographics. And to high voter turnout. And to loathing for Donald Trump, which helped drive turnout. Some on the right blamed Republican Ed Gillespie not being Trumpian enough.

One explanation was conspicuous by its absence, however: money.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, Northam enjoyed a 2-1 advantage in financing: He went into October with $5.7 million in his pocket, compared to Gillespie's $2.5 million. By the time the polls closed, Northam had spent $32 million to Gillespie's $23 million.

Northam also got a lot of help. The League of Conservation Voters spent more than $1 million to help him out. Planned Parenthood's Virginia affiliate kicked in $3 million. Environmentalist Tom Steyer threw in another $2 million, Michael Bloomberg's gun control group added more than $1 million, a group affiliated with Barack Obama added $1 million more, and so on. Why hasn't this "outside money" been cited as a factor in the race—or as proof that "money buys elections"?

One possible answer: Gillespie had plenty of help, too. The NRA bought more than $1 million in TV ads for him. Americans for Prosperity contributed more than $750,000. What's more, campaign financing for the lieutenant governor and attorney general races was far more symmetrical.

Besides: Northam's victory did not occur in isolation. Democrats practically ran the table in contests for the House of Delegates.

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4,000 Years Of Price Control

Tablets, said to be 200 years older than the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi ... show that the ancient kingdom of Eshnunna had wage control and price control. The news ought not to have come as a surprise. For the code of Hammurabi itself (unearthed in 1902), which was promulgated earlier than 2000 B.C., fixed prices, wages, interest rates, and fees. This makes price control at least about 4,000 years old. ...

 

Ironically, it is those who now wish to return to this ancient totalitarian device who are fondest of calling themselves “progressives.” They are also fond of saying that those who believe in economic liberty “are living in the nineteenth century.” These controlists have yet to learn that they themselves are still living, as the discoveries in Babylonia attest, in the nineteenth century—B.C.!

-- Henry Hazlitt,

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