Who Wants to Buy a Politician? With Mike Munger

The Citizens United case, in which the Supreme Court affirmed speech rights for corporate “persons,” was alleged by some to herald the end of democracy “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” But are corporate interests really able to purchase politicians and their votes? Perhaps more importantly, is there any evidence that “bought” politicians stay bought? Michael Munger, Director of Duke University’s interdisciplinary Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program, studies how political favors are exchanged between actors in government and the private sector. Munger has no doubt that money can influence policy in wasteful or destructive ways, but he sees something other than campaign finance as the culprit. In a recent New York Times article on the role of money in politics, Munger was quoted talking about the deals that take place after the election, behind closed doors – a phenomenon known as “rent-seeking.” Bob is joined by Professor Munger, a  frequent EconTalk guest and former candidate for Governor of North Carolina, to peek into the dirty dens of politics and see how deals really get made.