Teacher design and technology, Hagerman Municipal Schools

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Shift political campaigns from spending money on self promotion/mudslinging instead on funding social programs.

Unqualified estimates put US spending on citizens running for political office at between $2 billion to $5 billion each year (http://www.quora.com/How-much-total-money-is-spent-on-political-campaigns-in-the-U-S-every-year).

Could the money be spent instead of on robocalls, TV slam ads, bus tours, etc on better things?

What if campaign funds were used instead to fund social programs...like Medicaid, Habitat for Humanity, the ASPCA, food pantries, homeless shelters, dependency recovery, tutoring, and the like? Programs would get an amazing contribution. Media would cover the events, so politicians could still get facetime there. Government could make an exit from funding many social programs themselves. A $2 billion inflow of funds each year.

What would be the good, the bad....and the ugly that could come from this change?

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    Jan 26 2012: This type of change would be, for the lack of a better term: awesome.

    Unfortunately, power does what it wants.
    Power does what it wants, and until a person in power steps forward and strives to put in motion such a selfless act as you describe (and he/she may get shot down or lifted up), persons in power will continue to maintain their power through a monetary base of self-promotion, mudslinging, and alliances with private firms.

    The good would be as you described, a $2 billion inflow of funds ($2 billion that we know about, atleast).. the bad/ugly would be the creation of more or increase if monetary allowance to social programs such as the World Bank or IMF that try their best to donate to a good cause (ie: Rural farmers in Uganda may require more water and farming supplies. Instead of assisting the farmers on an INDIVIDUAL level and giving them what they need, the World Bank or IMF would fund money to give the government of Uganda 35 tractors to give to the farmers. The policymakers in the USA are pleased as they have a number, 35 tractors are now out there to help the farmers! But the individuals don't know how to use the tractors or have the resources to fuel the tractors.. so they sit and rot).

    Naturally, you see the conflict. The policymakers would look as if they are doing good, but still wasting money. That whole subject brings up the increasing flaws to our national/international aid agencies.. but I'll save that for another time!
    • Jan 26 2012: Good point, Martin. The idea you mentioned about feeling good by doing good even if it was not the best use of resources really makes sense. Thanks for your thoughts.
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    Jan 28 2012: agree campaign funding is over the top. i guess u are not suggesting money raised for campaigns should go to social programs. rather if there was less money wasted it could be available to be donated for something else.
    people should be able to donate for political campaigns. its just getting the balance right. suggest campaign funding should be limited to say 10k per person or business
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    Jan 26 2012: One hurdle I can't see this idea getting around is media influence.
    As we've seen in a number of recent elections, those who receive the most media coverage are the ones who win, so a campaigner who would sell out to mass media could quite easily gain all of the attention with other candidates not being able to compete because of the allocation of funds being diverted away from that use.
    To me it looks like every candidate would have to sell out to corporate interests just to get attention if they can't pay for the coverage which could technically make things worse.
    • Jan 26 2012: Very true. Thanks for pointing that out, Xavier. Right now, those who court the media (or just outright pay for coverage) do get the eyeballs of the voters. Unfortunately, they don't have the voter's heart. If the candidate was so overt as to contribute to these corporate (or NGO) interests, would the voter have more information to decide if the candidate supports or opposes the ideals of the voter? Or would it just muddy the water more?