Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Where’s my matching funds?
In yesterday’s White House press briefing with the inimitable Ari Fleisher we had this exchange:
Q And also in the last, 2000 and coming up, the President will accept federal funds in the general election.


Q Is there any dash of hypocrisy in that he doesn't contribute to that fund when he files his tax returns?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, interestingly, we talked before about taxpayer-financed elections, and while for the congressional races, Senate races and House races, and for overwhelming majority of the funds that go to presidential races is voluntary, there is that check on the tax reforms. And the best I remember this from IRS data is something like only 12 percent, or down to 8 percent of the American people check that box. So I think the President is in pretty good company with a number of American people who do not check that box.

We have to give Ari credit for thinking on his feet, even if what he says is completely silly or an outright lie. Of course, the 88 or 92 percent of the American public that do not give to that fund, also don’t collect from it. This behavior is morally akin to the multimillionaire who never worked a day in his life because he inherited his wealth (thanks Bush’s to “relief” from the “death tax”), turning 65 and demanding, “where’s my social security, dammit?!”

In case you think this is an unfair analogy, let’s listen to Mr. Fleischer a bit further:
Q Why would he take the money, then?
MR. FLEISCHER: As you know, he's not taking the money for the primary campaign; he will take it for the general.
Q Does he prefer a privately-financed system altogether?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think he signed into law the system that he supports.

In other words he likes the system just as it is: millionaire frat boys get to become president without even spending three lousy dollars of their own money.

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