Campaign Money

Now that the election is over and Clinton has retained the Presidency and the Republicans have kept control of Congress, it's time to decide what we, the voters, should demand of our new government.

We should begin with the voter's place in the political process.

Do you honestly believe that this election, or any other, was about what is best for you? The reality is, and will continue to be, that the entire system is centered around money and lots of it. Were you able to contribute much to your candidate? If you did, was it enough for him or her to ask your opinion on the future or present needs of the country? In fact, has your candidate even contacted you personally in any way save through his or her mass mailings? Were you invited to any meetings or prayer breakfasts or party functions?

Now consider if you had donated tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to your candidates and party. You would be one busy Indonesian or tobacco growing camper right about now. You would be planning your trip to the inauguration in Washington and trying to decide just which special tax break to ask for and where in the world you would ask for your ambassadorship to be.

Remember when Clinton and Gingrich made a big show out of an agreement to set up a bipartisan commission to "Reform Campaign Financing" and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing? The entire 1996 campaign was full of politicians promising to do the same thing. Please, hold your breath for reform only if you look really good in blue. The money machine in politics will only be tamed by us, the voters. Nevertheless, how much do you want to bet that the vast majority of the few people who cared enough to even vote will completely forget about this issue until the next election cycle? Then the fountain of promises will spout, once again, and nothing will come of it , once again.

What's my point? Only that money decides elections, not America's best interests. It is far past time to change this. There are a number of possible solutions to this farce. One is public financing of campaigns. Consider a $5 special tax (with a sliding scale growing larger than $5 as your taxable income goes up) which would be split between all candidates, regardless of office, divided by the number of eligible voters for the particular office. Absolutely no other contributions to individual candidates or parties would be legal and penalties for breaking this law would be extreme and consistently enforced. (Since politicians love bumper stickers so much, how about, "Buy a Politician...Go to Jail"?) The percentage of this money each party would receive for their candidate slate would be equal to the percentage of total votes recorded in the previous election. This would encourage third parties to run decent candidates each year in order to increase the percentage of votes received which would quickly bring down the current two party, Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum, system. This arrangement would also give the voters the opportunity to not only vote against the main candidates, if they continue to be as unacceptable as the last twenty or thirty years worth have been, but would also benefit their favorite third, fourth or fifth parties. Think of it, candidates who would actually be forced to keep the promises they make since there will now be so much more competition and failure to do so would cause financial harm to their party. I promise you that the members of every party will be very vigilant in assuring that no promises are made that can't be kept since their pocketbooks will feel the pain the next election.

Do you have any ideas for solving this problem? What other notions could you suggest to take politicians out of the rich's back pockets? It is your responsibility to solve these things, you know? Politicians certainly don't want anything to change that might make their re-elections harder or that would make them keep their campaign promises.

Talk to one another, folks. Stop hating one another because of race or religion or politics. The politicians love when you do that. It keeps you from noticing who is really doing the damage to your future.

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