Our Tax Dollars at Work?

Sorry, but today no healthcare related rant. Too much other juicy stuff going on that have made healthcare, the once hot topic, take a backseat. The most recent issues are certainly related around the economy and the resultant collapse of the credit markets and the banking system. Mortgage backed securities have become the junk bonds of the 21st century, much like Michael Milliken of the 1980’s.

The governement’s (Bush) response to the crisis was at first to ignore that there was a problem. Then, when it got smacked in the face with it, a 700 Billion dollar bailout with taxpayer money to stem the fear of a total collapse of the US markets; the likes of which hadn’t been seen for decades, or maybe even since the great depression. An economy in shambles. National debt at it’s highest ever and a deficit that will be an estimated 700 Billion to 1 Trillion dollars next year. What an inheritance for the the next president to assume and a great gift to leave our children and grandchildren.

Among all of this is the presidential election. The candidates are making their final push to sway and attract voters. TV, radio and print adds are flying with wanton abandon. Unsolicited telephone calls invade my home, and cell phone, on an almost daily basis. Emails come daily filling up my inbox with garbage I don’t want to see or read. How do they pay for all of this?

Just out in the last few days are the latest figures for both candidates’ fundraising efforts over the past several weeks. Obama, who opted out of the taxpayer funded campaign program, has raised nearly 150 Million dollars from donations for the Sep/Oct period and along with party funding, has nearly 200 Million dollars at his disposal leading up to the election. McCain, on the other hand, opted for public taxpayer money and is limited to 84 Million from now through election day. Both candidates still have their respective parties funding some of their advertising. Obama’s total raised by his campaign for this election totals more than 600 Million, while McCain raised just 240 Million.

With the kind of money these guys are raising, I think that to use public funds, when it could be used in other areas, is fiscally irresponsible. I know that camapign finance reform was designed to reduce the campaign contributions from large influential contributors and therefore reduce fraud and corruption, but they have gone from one extreme to another. And, who really thinks that our politicians are any less corrupt than they used to be?

Considering the amount of money raised by each party, the disparity in fundraising between Obama and McCain, how can anyone say the election wasn’t “bought”? Obama raised so much money after the convention, he was able to buy up every minute of available airtime on all the networks prior to the election. Even if McCain had raised more money, he would have had no real effective outlets where he could be purchasing advertising time. No one will ever doubt that Obama ran a very military precise campaign but without funds it never would have happened. Elections can still be bought despite campaign reforms.

I believe it should not be up to the taxpayers to fund the presidential elections. The individual candidates should be responsible for their own funding. But, that funding should not be a result of a popularity contest or the financial capability of their constituency. The federal governement’s role in this process should be one of oversight. Each candidate must have access to the same resources as the other. A cap on the amount spent should be instituted so that one candididate does not simply outspend or “out advertise” their opponent. Equal spending would therefore make the candidates concentrate on the content of their messages instead of the volume of their messages. We all have the same feeling this year; just get it over with.

This year’s election will be determined by the amount of money spent on the election. It is yet to be seen if that turns out to be the right choice.

Doc B

My opinion is free.
Advice is worth exactly what you pay for it.


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