A willing suspension of disbelief

The enjoyment of good fiction requires the willing suspension of disbelief. Robert Samuelson suggests in a brilliant column that the same quality is necessary to appreciate the Supreme Court’s atrocious decision upholding the McCain-Feingold campaign regulation: “Muzzling speech.”
The whole column should be chiselled in stone on Capitol Hill as a monument to democratic folly and judicial derogation. It is the kind of democratic folly that the Constitution was designed to prevent, and it deserves the kind of thoughtful attention Samuelson gives it:
“To justify abolishing basic constitutional rights, the court cites the danger that wealthy interests could, through campaign contributions, capture government for their purposes. But if the wealthy are trying, they either have botched the job or are remarkably charitable.
“Consider. In 2000 (the latest figures) the richest 1 percent of Americans paid 26 percent of federal taxes and the richest 10 percent paid 52 percent, says the Congressional Budget Office. Meanwhile, most spending goes to the poor and middle class. In fiscal 2003 federal spending, excluding defense and interest payments, totaled $1.6 trillion. Of that, 81 percent went for social programs, including $475 billion to 47 million Social Security beneficiaries, $249 billion for 41 million Medicare recipients, $161 billion for 40 million Medicaid beneficiaries and $25 billion for 21 million food stamp recipients. Similarly, most regulations target businesses.
“Maybe there’s strong evidence that big contributions have corrupted lawmaking. Actually, there isn’t…”


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