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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Big money votes in Wisconsin ...

Above: What you should have learned about The Gilded Age in 8th grade.

- Elections for sale: Wisconsin leaves us queasy - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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Republican Scott Walker of Wisconsin became the first governor in U.S. history to beat back a recall effort [last] week. He didn’t do it alone. He had the help of rich friends across the nation. This leaves a queasy feeling that U.S. elections are increasingly for sale.

Total spending on 15 Wisconsin recall races, including the one targeting Gov. Walker, will easily top $125 million, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks campaign dollars in the land of cheese. It estimates that spending on Walker’s race by the candidates and outside groups will reach between $75 million and $80 million. ...

... The United States has arrived at a new Gilded Age, with the nation’s wealth concentrated at the top and a U.S. Supreme Court that rules that corporations have carte blanche to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns so long as they do not coordinate efforts directly with candidates.

That’s why the group Move to Amend is trying to put two questions on the Salt Lake City ballot in November. It would ask voters if they agree that only human beings, not corporations, have constitutional rights, and if they agree that money is not speech, so regulations limiting campaign spending are not violations of free speech.

If the United States is not to become an oligarchy, the answers to these questions should be obvious.

- The recall rationalization - Rich Lowry, National Review/Salt Lake Tribune

The recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker didn’t fail, it was only outspent.

This is the considered verdict of the left after a year and a half of trying to smite Gov. Walker with its terrible swift sword. What began as a crusade to vindicate the rights of public-sector unions ended in a pathetic bleat of a complaint against spending in political campaigns. ...

- Super PACs and candidates - Ogden Standard-Examiner Editorial

... Both Sen. Orrin Hatch and his challenger in the June 26 primary, Dan Liljenquist, have benefited from noxious, out-of-state super PAC money. Neither of the candidates has criticized the independently funded slurs against their opponents. In fact, sadly they've welcomed the assistance. ...

- Public-employee unions are in trouble - Robert Bennett, for The Deseret News

- Wisconsin, November and Public Employee Unions - John Pfeifer, Twin Falls (Idaho) Times News

- All about survival - Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial

- Pension reform colors other Tuesday races - San Jose Mercury-News Editorial

- Public unions meet their ultimate employers: Voters - Tacoma News Editorial

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