25 Jan 2012 - Let’s Alter our Campaign Funding Habits

Promises made, promises broken. That happens during every political campaign but it becomes more intense in a year like this. We are ten months away from electing a President of the United States. That means ten months of rhetoric; that means ten months of candidates from every party making promises they know and we know, cannot be kept. They also know that if they dealt with reality, they probably wouldn’t get our vote, so promises are made that we all know will not be kept.

I have visited 43 countries during my career and every time I return to the United States I am so grateful that this is my home because despite its faults, I have not found another system that works better than this one. But there are some areas where, in my opinion, changes could be made, particularly in our election process.

Our process takes far too long and is way too costly. Why can’t we adopt the process we find in several other countries; call the election today and then hold it in three months. That’s more than enough time for candidates to outline their positions on every issue they will face in the White House and hopefully, would do away with a major irritation point for me, the many fund-raising events that put millions of dollars into the candidate’s campaign fund. At every one of those events, the President and the Republican candidates will spend hours talking about the economy and the need to tighten our belts to support all those “very important government programs”. But not one dollar raised at the campaign dinner will go to feed the hungry, improve health care or re-build infrastructure.

Instead, those dollars will go to buy billboards and media advertising and stage campaign rallies to get the candidate elected; to me, a waste of money. Instead, I would like to hear every candidate say “I’m giving half of what I’ve raised to the local food pantry or the senior citizen’s home or for job training”. I feel so strongly about this that I have ended years of sending checks to my political party because I’m tired of seeing my money go to waste. Instead I’m investing my money in the 4-H and FFA Foundations where they build leadership and in my local food pantry where my unemployed neighbors will be helped.

While I’m venting, let me touch on one more political practice that irritates me. It has become tradition after the State of the Union address for the President, regardless of the party, to board Air Force One and fly around the country, telling us what he said the night before. So, here is my message... Mr. President, we know what you said, so take the thousands of dollars spent to fuel the airplane and spend it on programs that help people in need. That way you could stay in Washington and work with Congress to break the gridlock and pass legislation that will move this country and our economy forward.

Well, just some of my thoughts on change that probably won’t happen, but I feel better!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.