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Letter: Reject Andrew Cuomo’s So-Called Public Campaign Finance Scheme

Governor Cuomo has used the pretext of the recent scandals in the New York State Legislature for what is misleadingly called public campaign finance reform.  What that really means is taxpayer financing of election campaigns.  Such taxpayer-financed schemes are unjust violations of the liberties of New Yorkers.    New Yorkers will be conscripted to finance the election campaigns of those they oppose.  Other New Yorkers will be conscripted to finance campaigns for elections that do not interest them.  

Pretend for a moment that there was no First Amendment to the US Constitution.   Why would such a provision concerning the establishment of religion be desirable?   Because it is wrong to compel people to support the views they do not share. 

Is it right for Republicans to pay for Democrats, Republicans and Democrats to pay for Greens and Libertarians or vice versa?  As a Libertarian, I say not.  We and the likes of Cuomo or his GOP opponents have no right to take from others against their will to finance our campaigns.  This is typical Cuomo arrogance.

Would taxpayer financing of election campaigns have prevented the recent scandals involving New York State legislators?   Not at all.  In fact, a perceptive columnist suggested that the scheme of State Senator Malcolm Smith, a Democrat who even served as the Democrat leader of the State Senate, to seek the Republican nomination for Mayor of New York City might have been motivated by the carrot of NYC’s generous “public” campaign finance scheme.   The City scheme pays $6 in taxpayer dollars for each dollar the campaign raised privately.

If you want more competition, eliminate the petition system and have a modest filing fee to qualify candidates for the ballot.

In a sense, we already have taxpayer financing of election campaigns in New York.  We call it the New York state budget which largely consists of vote buying of individual voters or groups of voters.

How the public officials raise their funds does not restrict their ability to hand out favors, legal or not, whether of public funds or legislative or execution acts.  Thus the root of corruption remains.

It is the state’s power to conduct what Frederic Bastiat called legalized plunder.  

Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”   The Libertarian Party of New York is striking at the root.  Join us.  Contact your legislator to reject Cuomo’s campaign finance scheme.

Richard Cooper