John Stossel

I guess the writer is unfamiliar with the obscure opening phrase of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law." And apparently the outraged progressives don't realize that corporations and unions are associations of individual who have rights. Dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens didn't get it, either.

The media outrage is almost funny. Under McCain-Feingold, media corporations were exempt from the prohibition -- which suits the Washington Post and New York Times just fine. But people with common sense already knew what Justice Kennedy found it necessary to say: "This differential treatment (between media and nonmedia corporations) cannot be squared with the First Amendment."

So now we are being served dire warnings that "corporate money ... may now overwhelm both the contributions of individuals and the faith they may harbor in their democracy." (Are similarly freed wealthy labor unions potted plants?) But the same Post editorial conceded that corporate money was "never lacking in the American political process." So what's the difference?

Besides, as John Samples and Ilya Shapiro of the Cato Institute write: "Before McCain-Feingold, both (corporations and unions) could spend freely on advertising about candidates for federal office. Such spending made up a relatively small part of election-related speech, and no one group dominated ... the political arena."

One need not be a fan of big corporations -- which in today's interventionist economy benefit from many government privileges -- to see that restrictions on anyone's speech are dangerous. A government lawyer last year said that even corporate-funded books favoring or opposing candidates could be prohibited under McCain-Feingold. That should scare progressives -- especially since the Federal Election Commission once had an anti-Bush book written by George Soros under scrutiny.

It is shameful that progressives are willing to throw free speech under the bus in their devotion to big government.

There is a simple way to get corporate money out of politics: get the government out of our lives and economic affairs. If government has no favors to sell, no one will spend money trying to win them.

John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at > To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at ©Creators Syndicate