Campaigns cost too much
The United States Supreme Court made an unprecedented ruling in the case of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission in 2010, which allowed unlimited political campaign spending from corporations and unions.
This exacerbated a problem with American politics that has been steadily growing since the 1970s. Campaign spending, particularly during an election year, has risen over the past four decades. Within the past four years, the sums of money thrown into the presidential fray have reached exorbitant levels.
The current election cycle has only just begun to heat up and already there has been a total of $600 million donated to the various presidential candidates. With no incumbent president in the running during the 2008 elections, there were many more prospective candidates aiming for the highest office. By the end of the race, the candidates had raised and spent a combined total of more than $1.6 billion.
It doesn’t matter which politician or party you relate to, even an average person can see how much money is being wasted on what has essentially become a popularity contest, especially considering the fact that this country is in the midst of a financial crises, a war overseas, an aging infrastructure and a decaying education system. Everyone knows that these problems will need financial capital to fix, but the underlying question is always, “Where to get the money?” No one wants to pay more taxes, yet many of the same people throw money at politicians as if they were topless dancers.
Over the last decade, the naïve mentality that all we need is the right politician to come to the rescue and save us has evolved. This is all a microcosm of the fierce partisanship that has defined American politics.
Unfortunately, it seems that most people today would prefer to spend their time and energy blaming others, as opposed to making efforts to fix the problem. Even if a mere 50-cent donation out of every dollar spent politically was given the Red Cross, the Texas Children’s Hospital, or even a local school district, we would all benefit, and we might just reduce some of the problems that we can only hope Washington will fix for us.
Matt Story is a kinesiology senior and may be reached at [email protected].