Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is So Much Necessary?? OR The Never Ending Campaign

In 1973 the O'Jays released a single called For the Love of Money. That's the song you hear if you ever see the TV show The Apprentice.

I was reminded of that song as I listened to the political talk shows this weekend and realized that the Presidential campaign is starting to heat up. (Well, wait ... we had political candidates at our Iowa State Fair last summer and straw polls before that and debates and .....) Because of a recent United States Supreme Court decision, there are no longer any limits on how much money can be spent on a campaign by corporations or unions.

I laughed at this silly picture showing the court. I think you can tell which 5 voted to take all the limits off campaign spending.

There are still limits on how much an individual may give but to make a long story short, campaign finance reform was killed off in 2010 with that court ruling.

Last August Rueters predicted that over $6 billion will be spent on the 2012 Presidential election. Did you catch that? Over 6 BILLION dollars.

A billion is a hard concept to, uh ... conceptualize. Think of it this way. One billion seconds is about 31 years. That's right. One billion seconds is about 31 years. You and I will probably not live 3 billion seconds.

If we took $6 billion and spent $1 every second every hour, every day, every year until it was all gone it would take us about 186 years. If we started in July, 2012, it would take us until the year 2198 to spend it.

Other sources claim the amount could reach $8 billion or even $10 billion this year. Whatever the final tally it is totally ridiculous. It is insane. It is, in my opinion, criminal.

I think the Canadians have it right. Their national election is short - usually less than 60 days. That is more than enough time to clarify the views of each candidate with ads, personal appearances, news coverage and the like.

Unlike the Americans who have turned running for political office into a sporting event that never ends, the Canadians do it right. I wish the Americans would figure out a way to get the election cycle down to about a year or less.

Having this non-stop campaigning means our politicians are always focusing on getting elected and that takes away from their ability to do their job - to pass legislation on such matters as tax reform, health care, and so on.

I confess. I watch the Sunday morning shows and a lot of the political talk shows. I think they are interesting. I like the debates regarding policies. But there is a limit.

This morning I heard representatives of both campaigns giving their standard lines and it became nauseating. Everything was couched in terms of a sound bite or staying on message regardless of the question.

A couple of months of this would be fine. But a never ending cycle of elections is too much.


Jo said...

In Canada, campaigns consist of people putting signs on their lawns. And that's pretty much it. In the U.S. the campaigns last longer than most Canadian governments. *heh* But American politics is fascinating. Shakespeare would have a field day with the cast of characters. You couldn't make that stuff up. I love watching it. Makes Canada look boring in comparison. But most of the issues that Americans are still discussing and debating are things that other countries have resolved almost a decade ago. Maybe more time doing, and less time debating might be beneficial to the U.S.

Leslie: said...

I agree with Josie, but your post made me think of all the sick and poor that money would help. It's disgusting to think these people spend that much money to glorify themselves instead of helping others less fortunate.

muthu said...

hmhm.... If you think that american politics is fascinating- you should visit India.

There are about 1000 registered political parties each with it's caste, color, creed and support base.

It's quite a ruckus over here. no a complete circus - complete with the clowns, the cyclists and the trapeze artists .... try following that.. :D

also, I liked the way you compared 1 billion to years...


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