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Do Windfall-Profits Taxes Apply to Politicians?

Today’s New York Times reports on Sen. Barack Obama’s record-breaking fund-raising spree to finance his bid for the Presidency.  Last quarter Sen. Obama raised, as the Times puts it, "a whopping $31 million."

These funds, of course, are all voluntarily contributed.  The fact that I, personally, do not care for much of what Sen. Obama espouses is irrelevant: lots of people like what he says.  They like it enough to contribute to his campaign.  The result, designed by no one, is a huge campaign chest for Sen. Obama.  He will be well-financed to pursue his ambition.  (In my opinion, this ambition is an especially greedy and venal one, but that’s just my opinion.)

In May, however, the very same Sen. Obama called for Senate hearings into allegedly excessive pay for CEOs of corporations.

The Senator is either ethically inconsistent or intellectually inconsistent (or both).  The pay of private-sector CEOs is determined by market forces.  No one — absolutely not a soul — is forced to contribute money to fund CEO salaries.  Those who pay such salaries do so voluntarily.

It’s the same with those who contribute to political campaigns such as Sen. Obama’s.  Everyone who does so, does so voluntarily.  I wonder how Sen. Obama would react to someone suggesting that his bulging campaign chest is the result of "greed" and behind-closed-doors deviousness by him and his campaign staff.  I wonder if he thinks that government should hold hearings to "investigate" the unprecedented ummph and possible anti-social consequences of his fund-raising success?

And if he fails to win his bid for the Presidency, might we conclude that he, like a highly paid CEO who fails to improve the company’s fortunes, is really undeserving of the largess bestowed upon him?

(I thank Dimitri Vassilaros, columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, for the title of this post.)


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