It’s not just global temperatures setting record highs. As of two weeks post election, the 2016 presidential campaign season is estimated to have cost in the neighborhood of $6.6 billion.
Campaign spending has skyrocketed faster and higher than the cost of healthcare, GDP, and income, as Time Magazine reported. Unprecedented in American history.
How do we find good, qualified candidates, and unity, as in the UNITED States of America,
Did $6.6B put people to work, and strategically help grow our economy?
Did it invest in our future—our children? Did it care for our veterans and elderly? Did it help repair our crumbling national park facilities, clean up lead in our pipes or Superfund sites, or rebuild our ailing bridges, electrical grid, or wifi infrastructure? How about hiring a tutor to help us with our infrastracture grades — we currently score as a dismal D+.
An aside: Want to stop all the protests? Treat the monkeys fairly. Really. Even monkeys will tell you that, as this 2:36 TED Talk excerpt shows.
1) Election Spending Tax (EST). Every candidate and PAC gets charged a tax, dollar-for-dollar, equal to what they spend on producing and buying space in the media. (Sorry mass corporate media, after this year’s election, you deserve to lose ad revenue.) We earmark that EST money for the states, reinstating that back-in-the-good-old-days idea from President Nixon called revenue sharing, to reduce local property taxes.
That $6.6 billion would provide $132M to each state. In Wisconsin, that would amount to $284,483 to each of our 464 school districts. Households in my district of 1,135 students would receive a property tax credit of between $150 to $250 per student.
If corporations really are people, and money equals political speech, then is it not fair that corporations should pay a tax on that privilege? I think a $250 stipend to every student in the country, for the privilege of “speaking” out to influence our elections, would be fair.
2) Set up Sister Districts. Years ago there used to be an organization called Wisconsin-Nicaragua Partners, which instituted this idea. Communities in Wisconsin “adopted” communities in Nicaragua. There were cultural exchanges and charitable giving. So why not do the same for our schools? Here in Wisconsin, there are a number of very wealthy suburbs. How about each of the wealthy school districts “adopt” a Sister District that’s not so wealthy. There could be cultural exchanges with potluck joint PTA meetings, fundraisers, mentor programs, and charitable giving. Let the wealthy district lend a helping hand to give the poorer district’s kids a hand up–not a hand out. Take them under the wing, lovingly, and teach them how to fly.
OK. This wasn’t a campaign reform idea. See what happens when you get outside the box? Other ideas happen.
3) Waive the tax for any low-budget videos featuring talking heads only–the candidate just speaking to voters, on camera, without high-priced, slick ad agencies. Prior to the 1960s, for nearly 200 years, that’s how all our candidates spoke–just facing the audience. Use technology to level the playing field for all challengers.
So there’s my brainstorm of an idea. What do you think?
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