A Real Revolution in Political Spending

January 30, 2018

Stand-along essay from The Second American Revolution ~ a revolution of the mind

Crowd-sourcing our Democracy: simple ways to overcome a historic flaw in our US Constitutional

faith Gibson

A Real Revolution in Political Spending

What ordinary Americans don’t see either political parties ever doing is to focus their money directly on the crippling problems currently plaguing Americans. There are many examples of these problems, but one of the most devastating to the people involved and vitally important to partisan politics is the intergeneration poverty and hopelessness in the “rust belt”.

For the last 40 years, this has fueled a disproportionate level of unemployment, small business failures, de-population of formerly thriving towns, school drop-outs, teen pregnancies, divorce, single-parent families, debilitating mental illness, petty crimes, the opioid crisis (and opioid orphans created when both parents die simultaneously of a drug overdose), drug trafficking, and mounting deterioration of the local infrastructure (roads, interstate highways, bridges, airports, etc), as well as their natural environment.

The partisan political answer is always MORE federal legislation – if we could just get the Congress to pass, and president to sign bills that would specifically address each of these issues independently – more federal dollars for teachers, mental health counselors, hospitals, public education on sexual abstinence, cops, prisons and prison guards, on and on and on, all would be well.

My question – a logical one – is this: Why aren’t the Republican and Democratic parties – both of which are huge entities organized around raising money through donations to purchase the airtime for partisan messaging — spending at least half of that money to support local organizations that directly address each of these issues?

The current partisan process thinks nothing of pouring billions, year after year, decade after decade, into what some call (but not me) the ‘swamp’ of Washington, DC – insider public relations firms, TV & media companies and the like — those spend all their time wasting ours by calling us right in the middle of dinner or during our Sunday afternoon nap, just to tell us how desperately a particular candidate or party needs, needs, needs YOUR money and mine, and due some arcane federal election law, they MUST have before midnight.

Should be we dare resist, they insist the world will explode at the moment the clock strikes midnight, and — eee gads! — it will all be our fault!

Why has craziness become the full-time ‘business as usual’ for our nation’s capital?

The American partisan politics spent over 2 BILLION dollars in 2016 just on the presidential election (does not count money for congressional candidates). In 2014 and 2015, the Pharmaceutical and Drug Store lobby spend 137 million (that’s 1/10th of a billion dollars) to get federal legislation passed that hobbled the DEA’s ability to legally stop drug distributors from selling several million narcotic pills over and over again to small towns in West Virginia, one of which had a population of only 375 people.

What if the Drug lobby sent that same 1/10th of a billion to the little W. Virginia town to improve its schools, streets, hospitals and provide counseling and other help directly to is own residents?

Here’s the vitally important math:

  • 100 million divided by 2 years (730 days) to spend an average of $137,000 everyday to ‘cook the books’ in order to perpetuate and expand the opioid crisis
  • 100 million divided by 375 would provide $266,666 to each and resident, including their children

This would forever change life in that little town, and eventually save a lot of lives, both in that small town and in all the other places these killer-drugs are being illegally sold.

Shame of us – on We The People — for not insisting that the billions raised every year to promote partisan politics be equally shared — 50 cents of every dollar – those who are desperate, who are hurting and those who will ultimately harm themselves and others if these problems are not successfully addressed.

What didn’t happen in 2014, 15 and 16, is that neither political party choose to part with a ‘fair share’ of its amassed millions in order to contribute financially, and even send in a cadre of its campaign volunteers, to help a part of the country that was already on life-support and desperately in need of compassionate action (i.e. not promises of future legislation) by its more fortunate fellow Americans.

You mighty say this would be a very good way to win an election, for whatever party was brave enough to take on this kind of challenge! And when your political parties are ‘dialing for dollars’ from big donors, and ordinary people are responding to email and on-line appeals, let each donor decide for himself exactly how much of his or her contributed dollars goes to the political party (or candidate) and what proportion is sent to that party’s super-fund, 100% of which is shared with local organizations that are directly helping Americans who are temporarily unable to help themselves.

The picture that comes to my mind is all the American servicemen and women who severely (often permanent) hurt (physically or mentally) in our recent foreign war. I bet a lot of loyal Republicans and Democratic donor would be happy to share their political contribution half and half with causes such as that.

In that event, I might even answer by phone on a Sunday afternoon just to see that happen.