Cronyism and erosion of public trust

John Garen via Mercatus Center: “Large governments with broad powers engender competition for influence over those powers. This leads to cronyism, where certain groups obtain special privileges in exchange for political support. The academic literature indicates that, in addition to other negative effects, cronyism can cause public mistrust in government that limits the effectiveness of core government functions such as maintaining property rights and other individual rights. Survey data show a large decline in trust in government, much of which has occurred while government grew rapidly. Evidence indicates that government growth has been associated with rent-seeking and cronyism, leading to a withdrawal of trust. Thus, cronyism — bad government — can undermine even the appropriate functions of government. The literature also suggests that trust can be restored by the practice of good government. It seems that the best way to do so is with a smaller, more focused government that is centered on carrying out its core functions and to steer clear of cronyism.”

The complete essay is at GOVERNMENT CRONYISM AND THE EROSION OF THE PUBLIC’S TRUST: An Exploratory and Cautionary Essay.

Latest voter-fraud sting nabs son of long-serving Democratic congressman “The son of a prominent Virginia congressman agreed to help an undercover reporter forge documents in what he thought was an illegal voting effort to re-elect the president, a just-published video reveals. After raising legal and practical concerns, Patrick Moran, son of Virginia Democrat James Moran, encouraged the reporter to create phony utility bills that would allow others to cast multiple votes in the November 6 election.” More at Latest voter-fraud sting nabs son of long-serving Democratic congressman.

New book: The Libertarian Vote

From The Cato Institute: “The dominating theme of political commentary over the past decade has been that we are a nation divided — polarized, red vs. blue, liberal vs. conservative. But millions of American voters don’t fit neatly into liberal and conservative boxes. Squarely in the center of the electorate is a substantial number of voters with the power to decide elections. Who are these voters? What are their beliefs, affiliations and loyalties? The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center reveals that 10 to 20 percent of Americans are fiscally conservative and socially liberal-libertarian. And over the past decade, unlike loyal Democrats and Republicans, they have been swing voters. They have contributed, for example, to the success of both the tea party and the gay marriage movement. The Libertarian Vote provides some of the most pertinent and authoritative insights available on this substantial block of voters. Candidates and political strategists willing to look more carefully at them may very well discover a large group of voters energetically looking for a home.”

This book is available as an ebook for $3.99. Click here: The Libertarian Vote: Swing Voters, Tea Parties, and the Fiscally Conservative, Socially Liberal Center.

Seeking campaign headlines

We shouldn’t be surprised that certain out-sized egos are interjecting themselves into the presidential campaign, writes Bud Norman at The Central Standard Times:

“Two of America’s most shameless attention-seekers both garnered some coveted headlines in the midst of an important presidential election with much-hyped attempts at an ‘October surprise’ on behalf of their preferred candidates. Although both succeeded in their primary objective of getting their names in the papers, neither is likely to have a significant effect on the race.”

Who are these people? Gloria Allred and Donald Trump. Who else could it be?

Third-party political ads

Wichita Eagle: “A newly formed political action group is using a radio ad to hammer a Sedgwick County district judge for his professional conduct, a relatively rare move by an out-of-state group in such a hyper-local race that some say could alter the nature of judicial races in Wichita for years to come.” (Georgia-based super PAC runs ad slamming Judge Ballinger)

If we’re concerned that third-party groups are campaigning for or against candidates, two things: First, there’s the free speech issue. The advertisement in question is speech. Second, allow more contributions directly to candidates. Then, candidates can be responsible for what is said on their behalf.

To read the document that is the subject of this article, see Judge Richard Ballinger Cease and Desist Order From Kansas Commission on Judicial Qualifications.

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