Money And Votes, Checks And Balances


The following post is by Dealbreaker reader and commenter Infinite Guest.

When Congressman Barney Frank said "money is influential, but votes will kick money's ass any time they come up against each other," he wasn't referring to votes on the floor of the House and Senate, nor to the money our elected officials are paid, nor the money they tax and spend. Those votes and that money are never in conflict, but they should always be.

Congressman Frank was referring to the guaranteed free speech of large donors as against the outrage of a much larger number of voters. His observation that the angry mob always triumphs over the minority holds true only in the absence of what you would call good government.

I do not envy our elected officials. The genius of Capitalism is that it does not rely on any economic actor to be anything more than human; the weakness in American Democracy is that it does. Despite checks and balances among and within our branches and levels of government, incentives to make politically difficult decisions are insufficient, and the incentives for political expediency are compelling.

How much better would Government be if elected officials, like traders and salespeople, were paid on performance?