Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alms for the Pols

This was clipped from a fundraising e-mail that I received a couple of weeks back.

That would need to be a big jerry can...
The irony is that had I donated to the political campaign in question, it wouldn't have purchased any gasoline, infant child care, bus service or rent for anyone in North Carolina (let alone Washington, where I happen to live), except indirectly, when someone in an ad office somewhere spent it out of their paycheck.While the solicitation made a big deal out of "fighting for middle-class families," anyone concerned with helping the middle class would likely do much better by them through ponying up $9,000 and helping someone pay for infant child care than they would by cutting a check to a political campaign.

The money spent on politics isn't about directly helping people. It's about trying to influence policies by helping a specific candidate get their message out to people who otherwise don't really care about politics. (The motivated voters show up whether or not the mail and airwaves are blanketed with advertisements.) Trying to motivate people to open their wallets by implying that money spent to help the opposition get their message out would be better spent as charity seems like a double-edged sword. Maybe it's a problem that it apparently isn't.

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