It wasn’t that long ago that one of the first things I’d hear out of committed liberals’ mouths was their utter loathing of Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that affirmed that groups of individuals had the same speech rights as lone individuals. Or, in their tendentious language, that “corporations are people.” The underlying position was that Big Money was a Bad Thing when it came to political speech. Never mind that unions and other left-favored groups already enjoyed the group-speech that CU affirmed for other groups.

Today, of course, Big Money in politics is fine and dandy, as long as it’s being directed toward supporting the Left’s candidates, issues, and electoral prospects. The latest is Mike Bloomberg’s plan to restore the voting rights of thousands of felons in Florida by paying the fines and restitutions they’re required to make after serving their terms.

As a libertarian, I support the premise behind Florida’s rules for voting rights restoration. We, via government, punish people for their crimes against others, as we should, but we want those punishments to lead to ‘rehabilitation,’ where those people can become good citizens again. Getting to participate in elections is part of that normalcy.

However, those offenders should make good on their own, with their own efforts, as part of the penance for their transgressions. While we may have a legitimate debate about the severity of the fines and restitutions demanded, merely absolving them en masse is not a service to either the victims or the society whose norms they violated.

Yet, that’s exactly what Bloomberg’s plan does.

Furthermore, there’s no altruistic, “give a leg up” motivation in this. If Bloomberg wanted to help these people along the road back to good citizenship, he could hire them, put them to work in productive jobs, so that they could make the money to pay their restitutions and fines.

No, this is an overt effort to tip the electoral scale in Florida, a state that Trump must win if he is to emerge victorious in November. While the people whose voting rights get restored are free to vote however they wish, only a naif would imagine that these people aren’t going to be influenced by Bloomberg’s largesse.

It’s Big Money influencing politics.

And it’s totally OK, as far as the Left is concerned, because it furthers their goals. Joy Behar Rule redux. Even though it might actually be illegal.

Countless other examples of Big Money supporting the Left’s causes and elections abound. For a party that used to make loud noises about dark money, about the Koch Brothers’ political spending, and about how Corporate America was buying the government, they seem shockingly (yes, I’m kidding) unfazed by Billionaire Mike throwing his vast wealth around.

As we all know, you can’t swing a dead cat around DC without hitting a hypocrite, but it’s in our nature to be bothered by hypocrisy nonetheless.

Keep this in mind next time you see someone complaining about money in politics. And, as always, remember that it’s always about Other People’s Money. When OPM supports someone’s desires, it’s somehow magically superior to OPM that opposes them.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.


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