The American “democratic” system seems fundamentally flawed as presidential candidates accept donations from campaign supporters without which they couldn’t successfully campaign.
These donors are not donating simply for the good of democracy, many (all?) do it to gain favour with the candidate.
So in order to nip this corruption in the bud, candidates need to be able to campaign without soliciting bribes. I mean, donations. The most obvious way to do that would be to allocate candidates identical budgets to cover their campaigning, and the best way to fund those in turn would be through the voters.
On the other hand, voters paying to vote would discriminate against the poor.
Is there some other way that candidates could campaign without depending on donations? Should the election process be entirely funded from the national budget?
I wanted to do a poll just to see if people would be willing to pay to vote, but it appears that’s not an option for GD. I’m curious nonetheless.
No I wouldn’t pay to vote, nor would most people I bet (hell, we barely get 50% now, when it’s free). I also think that spending money for politicking is the constitutional equivalent of free speech. I know that that isn’t a popular position on this board, but so be it.
As a great quote I read one time said, if you want to reduce the money in politics, then reduce the politics of money (ie, get the government out of the business of our current high taxing and spending, encouraging the rent-seeking of industry, etc).
This is just a horrible idea. Besides the obvious implications others mentioned with reducing turn-out and all, and that it basically boils down to a poll tax, there’s a lot of problems with logistics.
How do you decide who gets politicians get a budget and which ones don’t? Do we just fund the two major parties, and essentially destroy the third party completely? Do we give it to everyone who can get a certain number of signatures on a petition, and thus artificially prop up the third party? Also, how do we decide what is a fair budget to set?
If we’re going limit the funds they get, do we also put constraints on other things as well like donations of man hours or non-monetary goods and services? How do we penalize people who violate these rules?
What happens if someone can’t afford to pay? Do the poor just get worse representation now? Or do we set up some kind of program that can pay for it for poor? Doesn’t that get awfully complicated?
I would never be willing to pay to vote, even though I likely could easily afford whatever the fee was. I think it undermines the democratic process and creates a lot more problems than it could possibly solve.
What about clothing, hygenic products, gasoline, cleaning supplies, your computer, utilities, books, magazines, or any form of entertainment product? Do you rent (in which case you’re still paying property tax indirectly through your landlord)?
I usually only get clothing as presents for Hannukah and my birthday. I do buy hygenic products. I don’t own a car or generator, so no gasoline. I rarely buy cleaning supplies. My computer was bought used (the three or so before it were given to me secondhand). I do pay utilities. I generally buy used books and magazines.
I do rent, however due to a program I get a rent rebate every year. It may actually be more than I pay in. I’d have to check.
In any event, my original point stands. Voting is the right of any citizen of the age of majority who has no felony convictions. Not paying income tax, excise tax, property tax etc does not mean you give up this right. Paying all those taxes does not get you that right (I have a friend who pays plenty of taxes, but cannot vote as she is not a US citizen). If I do pay some taxes here and there, that is not where my right to vote originates. I was born in the USA, am over the age of eighteen and am not a convicted felon.
There should not be a poll tax, obviously, but I would not mind publically funded campaigns. The problem there, of course, is you have the taxpayers paying for campaigns of candidates who have no business running for office.