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Abstract

Campaign finance programs, such as New York City's, limit the influence of private money on candidates and come at a relatively modest cost to taxpayers. Campaign finance reform programs, thus, increase the extent to which elections are truly competitive. During a fiscal crisis, we therefore have an even greater need for campaign finance reform and the meaningful democratic elections that reform fosters to ensure that voters generally, rather than special interests, dictate how scarce resources should be allocated. Reform is also necessary to give voters the confidence that their elected officials represent them, and not just wealthy donors, particularly in a time of crisis. This essay argues that campaign finance reform programs, like the one in New York City, can bring concrete, real benefits to our political system by diminishing the influence of special interests, making our elective process more competitive and democratic.

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