The cost of something — anything at all — should not exceed its economic value. I have already posted my plan to raise the US President’s salary to $4.3 million per year. In this post I will discuss reducing the costs for individual candidates in Presidential campaigns. The cost of campaigning should be less than the actual earnings from being a 4-year US President.
Many Presidential candidates in 2008 are not willing to hold their campaign spending below $123 million. This story is discussed in Wikipedia articles. (Note that Arizona’s Republican John McCain DOES plan to follow the rules, and to keep his campaign spending below $123 million.) Wikipedia articles here and here show that Democratic candidates are raising and spending twice as much money as Republican candidates.
Public funding of federal elections, originally proposed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, began to take shape as part of a 1971 law, as Congress established the income tax checkoff to provide for the financing of Presidential general election campaigns and national party conventions.
As President, I will aim for a major change to the Presidential Campaign Fund program. This fund is administered by the Federal Election Committee (FEC) which is appointed by the US President. (Reference: Wikipedia articles “Federal Elections Commission” and “Federal Election Campaign Act“)
Widespread use of the internet makes it possible to conduct a good, but low-cost Presidential campaign today on a far smaller budget than in 1975 when the FEC was originally organized. Moreover, the US public in general has lost faith in the Federal Government, and the US itself has lost most of its economic strength, since we adopted this modern system of financing Presidential elections during 1971-1975.
Currently the FEC allows the final nominee of each major party (Republican and Democrat) to receive a grant of $81.78 million if they have followed certain guidelines. I will request that this $163.56 million should be used differently. The $163.56 million should be used to fund serious IMPARTIAL research into activities that could make the US stronger, better, more prosperous, and more efficient. I will ask that all this $163.56 million of research be published openly, and available nationwide, 2 years before each presidential election. That research will analyze the engineering technology, political issues, and optional government programs or reforms which truly need to be addressed and discussed by Presidential candidates in the following Presidential election.
My plan for this $163.56 million of impartial research before each Presidential campaign resembles the way Franklin Roosevelt had PhD research people guide US manufacturing tasks during World war II.
As President, I will also ask the FEC to impose a spending ceiling of $10 million on each candidate’s campaign in primary elections to run for President of the USA . This $10 million ceiling represents roughly 75% spending reduction from the current program. State Governors and big-city Mayors all have excellent credentials to become US Presidents. Of course Federal Senators and Congressmen also have good credentials. So I will ask the FEC and Congress to end the political fund-raising circus by having the Presidential Election Campaign Fund give $200K to the campaigns of ANY Federal Senators or Congressmen, and any State Governors, and any big-city Mayors who decide to be candidates for US President.
Our elected officials should be concentrating all of their attention on the work for which they have been elected. So it is counter-productive for any incumbent to waste his or her time raising hundreds of millions of dollars for an unrelated task, such as financing a campaign to run for US President.
I will also ask Congress to legislate enough free public exposure for candidates for Congress and the Presidency (including private citizens who are not currently in public offices) so that spending more than $200K on a Presidential campaign will not increase any candidate’s chances of winning the election. For the offices of Representatives and Senators in Congress I will request that spending more than $30K on a campaign will not increase the probability of getting elected.
Obviously there is a big difference between the $200K and $10 million ceilings in my discussion above. I want to stop plutocracy by aiming to make $200K function just as efficiently as $10 million for the purposes of Presidential campaign financing. The winner should be the best candidate, not the one who specializes in fundraising.
Filed under: Charles Skelley |