Millions of Reasons
Money is, by all accounts, a necessary evil. We need it to survive, and to an extent, we need it to be happy. Without it, life would be literally unlivable. However, in spite of its inherent necessity, money has the power to single-handedly destroy us. This paradox has become frighteningly apparent over the past couple of months, as political contributions in America near the $1 billion mark. The candidates and their respective campaigns spend millions of dollars every day trying to sway voters with false claims and fraudulent advertisements, destroying our nation in the process. With record amounts of money flowing into their coffers, political candidates no longer need to be judicious about what they say and don’t say. They can pay for the time to announce something and then pay for the time to retract something. It’s that easy. Thus, we’re entering a political era fraught with baseless rhetoric and ad hominem diatribes. My solution? Put a hard cap on individual and corporate political donations. By doing so, we would not only extend equal representation to every American but would also save ourselves and our political system from denigrating into an arena of half-truths and blatant lies.
In June, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama raised a combined $177 million; in May, they raised $136.8 million. A large quantity of this money comes from either excessively wealthy individuals who “bundle” donations with their friends or large corporations who have everything to lose if one candidate or the other is elected. In my opinion, this must end. I couldn’t care less what people do with their money. I don’t care if they earn a lot, I don’t care how they spend it, and I don’t care to tell them what they must do with it. However, when it comes to political donations, a significant problem arises: the lack of equal representation.
Ideally, in American politics, every person is equally represented. Essentially, we should all have the same worth in our representative’s eyes. This ideal is, of course, impossible to uphold when some people are allowed to give (or bundle, if you will) $500,000 to a campaign and others can’t afford to give a single dollar. In such a case, the person who donates more will be of higher importance to the candidate. As such, equal representation is destroyed; the wealthy have a greater influence on Congress than the less wealthy. This is a serious problem. Everyone deserves equal representation in the political arena, no matter their annual income. The only way to ensure equal representation is to place a hard cap on all individual and corporate political contributions. By doing so, we can make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to donate a certain amount of money to political candidates of their choice.
Equal representation aside, the greatest danger of unlimited campaign finance is as follows: with more money comes less responsibility. Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are living proof that my claim is true. If either candidate makes a mistake, they respond by creating a new ad that hits the opposition and swings the attention back to the other side. As such, responsibility in political attacks disappears. You don’t have to think before you attack; instead, you can attack without forethought and pay to defend your statements later. Taking away the candidates’ massive financial safety nets would save us from the baseless, ad hominem attacks we’re now accustomed to, because they would no longer be able to afford “backtracking” and “retracting”. Hence, by decreasing the amount of money that each campaign receives, we could drastically decrease the amount of false and pointless drivel we’re forced to listen to every day.
I conclude my argument with this: It’s imperative that we end the era of limitless political contributions. In the name of equal representation and democratic government, I cannot remain silent as the ultra-wealthy use their millions to unfairly influence Congressional legislation. The only solution to this problem is a hard cap on political contributions, a cap that I hope will be able to restore equality to our nation and sanity to our representatives.