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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Very Silly Idea

At The New York Times, columnist Joseph Nocera praises an idea from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz:
In effect, Schultz thinks the country should go on strike against its politicians. “The fundamental problem,” he said, “is that the lens through which Congress approaches issues is re-election. The lifeblood of their re-election campaigns is political contributions.” Schultz wants his countrymen — big donors and small; corporations and unions — to stop making political contributions in presidential and Congressional campaigns. Simple as that. Economists like to talk about how incentives change behavior. Schultz is proposing that Americans give Washington an incentive to begin acting responsibly on their behalf. It’s a beautiful idea.
The last comment is true only if you see beauty in silliness. The idea would work only if most contributors went along, which they won't. Too many people and organizations have a stake in giving campaign money, either for reasons of principle or material interest. And to the extent that advocates of bipartisanship and compromise leave the field, they yield that much more influence to hard-line partisans on both sides.

The whole thing makes no sense.