My dad, Paul, wrote may pro-freedom aphorisms from the days he was in the Pacific in World War Two to the end of his days on Earth, and one of them stands out with the resonance of a well-struck alarm bell.
In the 1980s, he wrote, “When the shark smiles, beware.”
Nancy Pelosi smiles a lot...
Fake. Plastic. Shifty. Hiding not-so-pleasant plans for you behind the mask.
And David Harsanyi, of Reason, has just revealed another of the seemingly limitless reasons Congress-shark Pelosi keeps flashing that rictus-like grin.
She wants to “expand voting rights”, by making you pay to promote candidates with whom you disagree.
What happened to your smile…?
You don’t understand the use of this phrase, “expand voting rights”, since anyone over eighteen is supposed to be able to vote?
Well, Harsanyi offers more:
One of the new bills—specifics are still cloudy—reportedly would allocate a pool of taxpayer money to match small-dollar donations 6-to-1, as a way of encouraging ‘grass-roots campaigning.’
Because, evidently, there’s absolutely nothing that the government shouldn’t corrupt even more through the immorality of taxation and redistribution of wealth.
And if you don’t support the redistribution of wealth, too bad, because they’ll redistribute your wealth to candidates who do believe in it.
The package, fortunately, wouldn't pass the Senate. But creating government-financed campaigns—empowering the state to allocate money to preferred donors and dissuading non-preferred donors—has been something of a hobbyhorse in progressive circles. Setting aside the many constitutional concerns, the recent abuses by the IRS when tasked with regulating political speech demonstrate just how easy it is for bureaucrats to manipulate rules meant to govern speech. These are rules that shouldn't exist, period.
But the rules of this game can't be rigged enough for some.
Many collectivists flipped their prefab wigs when the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled in the 2009 “Citizens United v FEC” case that no government could restrict independent expenditures for communication pertaining to elections (but the court upheld the noxious idea that the state could require said organizations to disclose the sponsors of any ads or communication they make for political purposes). So it makes sense that they’d try to skirt it by actually taking taxpayer cash to push “grassroots” electioneering.
And Ms. Pelosi would like to make it even worse.
Because, let’s say we want to contribute to a political cause that promotes reducing the size of the state and its influence in our lives… She’s got some ideas about “fairness” on that front, as well.
Democrats will also include a provision in their package that would make tax-exempt 501(c)(4) charitable groups disclose donors who've given $10,000 or more during an election cycle. As I've written elsewhere, this obsession with eliminating anonymity is also a transparent attempt to chill speech and undermine minority opinions.
And, even if Pelosi’s first idea about using tax cash to subsidize political speech doesn’t pass the Senate (not like we don’t already subsidize NPR, PBS, and the new “Countering Propaganda payoffs that the feds can hand to “news outlets”), that last provision might just appeal to plenty of liberal GOP Senators enough to get by.
As Harsanyl writes, your speech and your right to fund the dissemination of that speech are interdependent. It took money to publish Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense”, the text that fired-up huge swaths of the populace to rebel against Great Britain. But if Paine were alive today, Queen Pelosi would not only order him to disclose who sponsored him, thus putting that man or those men in jeopardy, she would take his tax money to fund a pro-British organization.
And, as Thomas Jefferson said, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
But Nancy Pelosi will smile like a shark as she repeatedly tries to do just that, and to crush anyone who dissents.