Saturday, October 16, 2010

Daddy on the Edge of Campaign Finance

Did you know there was an election coming up?

I know, I know - how could you not? This time of year, the leaves turn and the lawns fill with...signs. Not o
nly that, but our televisions get overrun with attack ads. Daddy hates this time of year, and usually sets the DVR to record everything, just so we can fast forward through all the campaign nonsense (from both sides) and get on with TV that matters, programs of substance (okay, okay - we watch Family Guy and re-runs of The Office, but that's still better than looking at Carl Paladino's ugly kisser).

And now, with the
recent Supreme Court decision that allows corporations to spend as much as they want on campaign ads, we're seeing more of it than any other midterm election in history. Add to that the whole hooplah about the US Chamber of Commerce allegedly using foreign contributions to buy ad time for the Republicans, and it just makes Daddy want to spit. And these are only the midterms - just wait for the 2012 elections.

Times like these, I either get depressed or angry. Angry is far more productive, because it gets me thinking (depression usually just leads to a nap). So, I was angrily thinking, "What can we do about this? Every attempt at campaign finance reform has been an abysmal failure, and now we've gone in the opposite direction, with more money than ever going to ads that nobody likes, and nobody really wants with no apparent end in sight, can we make this work for us?" And then it came to me...

Let's Tax the bastards.

Daddy used to smoke...a lot. And it seemed like every year, the taxes on cigarettes just kept going up. State and Federal taxes on cigarettes in New York account for nearly forty percent of the price of a pack, and they always said they were using that "Sin Tax" to support the schools. So tell me, with all that tax money, why is it that today, the US ranks 17th in science education worldwide, 24th in math and 11th in literacy? Obviously, we need more tax money to support our schools. And of course, we could use some 21st century job training programs. And then there's infrastructure - NJ Governor Chris Christie recently put the kibosh on a current (read half completed) infrastructure project that was going to give us a brand new tunnel between NJ and NYC. Now, if you've ever been in Lincoln Tunnel traffic, I'm sure you'll agree - that's some change we could've believed in. But Christie said it was going to end up being too expensive. Good for him for being fiscally responsible and all that, but instead of putting people out of work because there's not enough money, why don't we bring in more money instead? Here's the proposal - run it the same as the cigarette tax;

For every dollar spent on any and every form of campaign advertising from any and every candidate, forty cents of each dollar will be withdrawn as a sin tax and will go directly to financing the repair, updating and renewing of the US Public Education System.

When the US has a solid standing as one of the top ten leading countries in education, then some of that sin tax can target other programs like job training and infrastructure. Heck, if they keep spending the way they have been, we can send some of that money to the Social Security, Medicaid and Welfare system as well. Think about it - Democrats are happy because social programs are being funded, the Tea Party should be happy because they won't have to pay any new taxes, yet the social programs that we all depend on will remain solvent, and the rest of the Republicans...well, they'll never be happy, but two out of three ain't bad, right?

I've been calling this a sin tax, and I meant that. If smoking is a "sin", it's one I perpetrated on myself - a minor sin, at best. I doubt if it would get me a "Hail Mary" in a confession booth. But raking in the money that these people bring in, and using it in the ways that they do to achieve the goals they have in mind - those are sinners of a far higher league. That's Pro Ball right there.

In fact, the Book of Proverbs states that the Lord specifically regards "six things the Lord hateth, and the seventh His soul detesteth." namely:
  • A proud look
  • A lying tongue
  • Hands that shed innocent blood
  • A heart that devises wicked plots
  • Feet that are swift to run into mischief
  • A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
  • Him that soweth discord among brethren

Sound like any politicians you know? Sound like most politicians you know? At forty cents on the dollar, these weenies are getting off easy.

I joke about this, but it's a serious thing. Every year, we fall further and further behind in education, while every year, special interests dig their claws deeper and deeper into our government. This plan can level the playing field and there's a certain karmic justice in it that just makes Daddy smile. If you like my plan, tell a friend, tell your state and local representatives - tell anyone you think will listen. We can do this, and it'd be fun. :)

I'm gonna wrap this up with a YouTube clip from The West Wing. The point of my posting it comes up at the 39 second mark, but the whole scene is fun. Enjoy.

I'm Daddy on the Edge, and I approved this message.

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