Libertarian (or classical liberal) law professor Richard Epstein's column this week is about the intersection of property rights and campaign finance:
In a society that has strong protections for property rights, supposed oligarchs have no reason to enter big-time into political activity because their liberties and property would already be amply protected against confiscation by collective action. ...it is highly doubtful that so-called oligarchs would make political investments if they knew that they were immune from the risk of confiscation through thinly disguised schemes of regulation and taxation, especially since these same rules would prevent them from seeking subsidies of their own. But right now, with these protections shattered, the dynamic changes on both sides of the great political divide.
As matters now stand, most of the legislation before Congress and the states represents efforts on the part of the progressive movement to retain its chokehold on employment relations and land use, to funnel huge sums of money in favor of subsidies to inefficient forms of wind and solar energy, and to increase the burdens of taxation of the rich in the name of greater income inequality. And there is no doubt that these groups can and will take advantage of the relaxation of the political restraints that are placed on their activity.
In this environment, the supposed oligarchs are on the defensive. In the main, unlike unions, they are not seeking massive subsidies. They are trying to resist actions that restrict their own basic property and contract rights. Indeed, there is no question who is winning the debate today, as government action intrudes itself ever more into the life of the public.