Our Monks of Miscellaneous Musings posted a George Will - Robert Reich clip from some debate show. Robert Reich brought up the claim that "we need to get the money out of politics" and blatted on about income inequality. On the latter point, George Will whiffed badly, but more about that later.
Getting the money out of politics assumes that money is somehow corrupting what the government does, that there is some best solution to whatever set of problems we're trying to drown with three-and-a-half trillion dollar bills. If we got the money out of politics, then our political leaders would make wise decisions that were best for all of us.
But the best set of decisions depends on what you're trying to achieve. Over in Greece, they've pretty much done the things that Robert Reich has been suggesting for years and they're now starting to throw their poor and elderly out into the street. So much for finding wise political leaders who can make your decisions for you, eh Robert?
And what does "getting the money out" even mean? The government contracts out to private companies for much of its work. If there's a customer out there with $3.5T to spend it's utterly childish to think that marketing dollars aren't going to gush forth in pursuit of that prospect. (You can solve this problem by nationalizing all industries so that everyone is inside the government and no one outside. See also: Union, Soviet.)
The only way to get the money out of politics is to get the money out of the government. Given the track record of geniuses like Alan Blinder and Robert Reich, that's probably a good idea for lots of other reasons, too.
Finally, a bit of George Will's response to income inequality. George took the collective position and made points about government being the cause of problems and blah blah blah. This really ought to stop. Income and wealth don't simply happen to you. You're not plankton floating around with the tides. Income and wealth are markers of behavior. Next time a Robert Reich launches into an income inequality tirade, someone ought to bring up the behaviors that lead to poverty and ask Robert just how successful we've been at dealing with those through politics.