Friday, April 14, 2006

State-funded Political Parties

This is intended for a British audience, but it's one of the best articles I've ever read against the idea of state funding of political parties (free registration required). Here's an excerpt:

Meanwhile, the apparatus of public funding creates a lucrative career structure. A graduate can work for his local party branch, then put in a couple of years at the attached state-funded think-tank, and then stand for parliament. Throughout his life, he has been dependent on the largesse of the taxpayer.

So it is hardly surprising that, when he becomes a minister, he is comfortable with the idea of higher taxes. This is why even the notionally centre-Right parties in Europe tend to be corporatist: it's not just that they have to keep finding state sector posts for their supporters; they simply can't imagine a world in which most activity is independent of the government.

Read the whole thing. The article goes on to mention numerous examples of the corruption generated by the funding of parties.