April 29, 2004

Regulation by purse strings

Alex Tabarrok at Marginal Revolution points out another example of federal regulation via funding.

A federal judge heard arguments in a suit filed after Metro rejected an ad from Change the Climate, a group that advocates reforms in laws against marijuana. Metro took the action after Congress passed a law that denies federal money to transit systems that accept advertising promoting the legalization of drugs.
It's not the first time Congress has overstepped its bounderies in one area by making funding in another contingent on the behavior it's looking for. Federal highway funds being tied to a 21 year old drinking age comes to mind. But requiring a prior restraint on political speech for transportation funds is another matter entirely.

The optimist in me believes this will be struck down. But the War on Drugs has justified so many other previously unthinkable things that it's hard to be confident.

And as Alex points out, very little of modern life is completely immune to federal funding decisions. If we let this stand, we deserve what we get. Unfortunately, rather than vote the idiots in Congress out for this kind of nonsense, we'll sit back and let the Courts handle it, breathe a sigh of relief, and wait for the next outrage. Sigh....

Posted by richard at April 29, 2004 02:49 PM

Oh the hypocrisy! It's right-wing, fascist minded, demagogues like you that vote these idiots in to begin with!!

OK, what I really mean is that I agree with you wholeheartedly on this one - but that's nowhere near as fun to write . . .

Posted by: mike F. at May 3, 2004 07:44 PM