Blogs > Liberty and Power > Legal Plunder II

Jan 10, 2006 10:42 pm

Legal Plunder II

The Jack Abramoff story reminds me of an important book of a few years ago, Fred McChesney's Money for Nothing. Most people think that corruption in politics consists of donating to a congressional campaign so that the senator or representative will sponsor and vote for a bill that will do a favor for the donor. McChesney discusses a different sort of corruption: the harvesting of donations so that congressmen won't do something. Government holds the power to ruin specific interests by passing a tax, or a tax exemption or subsidy for a competing interest, or a regulation. This means that not doing something can be worth a lot of money to someone, and it can become a lucrative source of campaign money. McChesney says that members of Congress have made speeches suggesting some tax or regulation with the sole intention of gaining contributions from people hoping to dissuade them from doing what they suggested they might do.

Thus state plunderers have found yet another way to extort money from productive people.

Cross-posted at Free Association.

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