Your first annual friendly reminder - Presidential Election Campaign Fund

This is the first of what I hope to be annual reminders that checking the “Give $3 to the Presidential Election Campaign” box on your tax return doesn’t affect your refund. It’s a straight-up, popular vote about how much Federal money should go to the fund that (simplistically explained) helps underfunded candidates run for President.

We have occasional threads about taxpayer-voted funding of certain projects. This is the one and only taxpayer obligation that follows such a scheme.

Yet its value has declined every year* since 1994.

Check it or don’t, but at least know it doesn’t affect your annual tax return. It’s only “your money” in the sense that all Federal money is the taxpayers’ money.
*OK, fine, there’s a minuscule rise in 2002.

I’m actually thinking about not checking it, for the first time ever.

The underfunded candidates that use it do not actually win the nomination or the Presidency. In recent elections, Clinton, Obama (twice), and Romney have all declined matching funds, due to the restrictions on fundraising from the public. It does not go to a third party unless it has gained 5% of the vote in a general election. And part of the money is diverted to pediatric medical research.

I’d be all for public funding of campaigns if that was all the money they could get, or if there were realistic and enforceable restrictions on spending, but as it is, it’s a waste of money.