Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Please make it go away
I wish we could do a time leap to next Wednesday and skip over the next few days. My dad’s comment would have been “don’t wish your life away.” But just think about it for a minute. The midterm elections would be over, the political spam e-mails would stop or at least slow down, the pre-recorded “important” political phone messages would end, and the roadside campaign signs would come down. And of course, congress could get back to doing nothing constructive again.
I’m not sure I want to know how much money gets spent on campaign advertising. Maybe it provides a few jobs along the way but overall it does seem like a huge waste of money. Especially now that we have almost no control on the amount or source of money used to influence our vote.
Every now and then, the idea of campaign spending limits makes the news but it’s probably not going to happen anytime soon – if ever. We need a new approach. Something along the lines of, for every campaign dollar spent by the candidates, a matching dollar is donated to the local, state or federal government level where the contested position is located. So if you’re running for the local school board and you spend a $100 on newspaper ads, you have to donate a $100 to the school system where you want to serve. Or if it’s a state level position you’d make a matching donation to the state treasury and so on at the federal level.
Every candidate, regardless of their party affiliation or if they win or lose, would automatically be doing a public good by helping to finance public sector services. The money from two or three midterms and a couple of presidential elections could probably make a dent in some of the deficit spending problems around the country. At least we’d have something to show for all the time and money spent on political campaigns other than just a new name plate on the office door.