Wednesday, August 24, 2011

get the money out of politics

I hate politics. And I especially hate so many valuable monetary resources being wasted on two-year long commercials for all the slimy weasels in politics. But, I understand the impulse to contribute to those campaigns, since, after all, politicians do have a lot of power to affect the world and everyone wants to make sure their right guy has that power.

So if someone is waiting around for a lucrative non-profit idea, how about: set up a website where people can make political donations, but if that donation can be matched with an offsetting donation to the other side, both donations go to some nonpartisan charity of your choice (e.g. the Red Cross or the Humane Society or Nature Conservancy.) That way all those billions of dollars normally spent on winning the campaign volume war will STILL have that effect (by damping the other side rather than ramping your own), but will have two wonderful additional side effects: widespread weasel muzzling, and good deeds done.

You could even expand it in complexity to cater to specific preferences: say someone wants to donate $20 to the Mitt Romney for president campaign. They could specify that if a matching donation to any of a number of organizations (the Obama campaign, the Michele Bachmann campaign, or the ACLU, for example) is found within a certain number of days, that matched amount will be diverted to a specified service-based organization like those mentioned above, and the remainder, if any, will be donated to Mitt Romney at that time. Either way, a receipt for relevant tax deductions is provided at that time as well.

Has anyone done this? If so, why have I not heard about it? Are there some weird non-profit legal issues that make it difficult to implement? Is there some fundamental flaw in the concept that I'm missing? I know I'm not the only one cynical about all the money in politics and sick of hearing the commercials and really sick of all the phone calls from campaigns who aren't restricted by the Do Not Call list...

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