Kansas Progress Institute

Ad Astra Per Aspera ~ To the Stars Through Difficulties

Political Primaries Serve Public

Posted on August 4, 2016

By David Burress

Kansas City Star political columnist Dave Helling veers between sharp observation and center-right obtuseness.

In the later vein he complained today about public subsidies for political party primaries. If primaries were what economists call a pure private good, he might have a point. But in large part they are a public good: the entire world is made better off on average if selection of candidates is taken out of the hands of a gaggle of insiders and made open to any member of the general public who is likely to vote for that party.

Moreover, by subsidizing primaries, the government gains the ability to impose rules of fairness on it.


It is typical of right-wingers these days to define everything (other than the violent defense of property rights by police and military) as a private good and then try to privatize it.

In any mainstream model of the economy megaprivatization makes the world a worse place to live in, at least for most people.

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