Bill McClellan at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote a column the day before the election that had one line that jumped right off the page at this correspondent. Not that the rest of his column just laid there. It was pretty good, too. But one line got the Monday brain sludge flowing right smartly. He wrote about folks who are tired of all of the campaign advertising, especially the ads that smear opponents: “That money could go toward health care or high-speed rail, or, conversely, it could go back into the pocket of our job creators.”
Thank you for that observation, Bill. Let’s see if we can put it into context of our legislature, or at least in the context of the majority of our legislators, especially now that the state Chamber of Commerce has quickly celebrated veto-proof Republican majorities in both chambers as major boosts for pro-business laws. .
Our legislature and some of our statewide office-holders will have nothing to do with any talk about tax increases. “Job-killing tax increases,” they have labeled them. The philosophy is that if we let businesses keep their tax money, those businesses will use those funds to create more jobs.
The legislature removed any limits on campaign donations a few years ago. And while there is some quiet talking about imposing donation limits, it’s almost inaudible.
So let’s see how this works. Business people who benefit from low taxes presumably so they will keep their money and create jobs can use their money to make unlimited campaign donations to those who favor low taxes that let them keep their money presumably to create jobs.
We will have some new members of the House and Senate taking office in January, joining dozens of veterans. Will they impose donation limits so the business people will have more money to create more jobs? Will they increase taxes so businesses don’t have as much money to donate to political candidates that spend wads of dough to smear each other? Will they require those financing the smearing to let us know who they are?
Are the jobs that are created in this system mostly 34 state senators and 163 state representatives?
Surely not. What we’ve just done is connect some dots in a way that is all too common in these days of simplistic and immediate analysis. But we caution that the political system is more complicated than that and far less direct. Our A-plus-B-equals C scenario is easily made and quickly can be disparaged by others who offer different perspectives. And it should be because it’s too simplistic.
That’s what political dialogue is for, a dialogue that already has started, at least from the pro-business side that has praised the veto-proof Republican legislative majorities for their pro-business legislative opportunities.
Missourinet reporters will be at the Capitol in 2013 as lawmakers do a lot more talking between now and mid-May. Wonder what they’ll talk about more—letting businesses keep more of their money to create more jobs or requiring identification of those who are willing to use their money to influence elections that provide jobs for 197 lawmakers and a few others in high places.
We’ll let you know what we hear.