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CHA-CHING! Sounds like Politics

By John Donvan — September 12, 2012

Money talks. And money corrupts. What language does money speak, anyway?

Actually, in politics, money doesn't just talk. It screeches, sings, and whispers in your ear. In short, money – when applied to politics – sounds, looks, and walks an awful lot like speech. But... money also enjoys a long and troubling interactive history with the buying of votes and the pocketing of politicians. Now, we have Super PACs, the means by which unions and corporations are unshackled for the first time to spend as much on political messaging as they want, thanks to recent court rulings.

So, a simple pair of questions as we scrutinize how Super PACs work out: if money corrupts, should government continue efforts to regulate how it gets raised and spent on elections? Or, if money is speech, is its voice in politics protected by the First Amendment, meaning the government must back off?

These questions will drive our first debate of the season. As we head for election day, we're raising this proposition: Two Cheers for Super PACs: Money in Politics Is Still Overregulated. Our four debaters have worked on this issue for years, from opposite sides. Their views, and those of some other smart people we're reading, can be found by clicking on the column on the right.

We debate September 12, at our new location at Kaufman Center. Join us. Learn how money does, can and should work, in the Big Vote to come. And remember, this is the debate where you get to ask questions, and choose the winning side.


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John Donvan, Moderator
Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

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