Editorial: Spending money wisely
Over the course of this year’s local election — and the subsequent national election next year — voters continue to hear a repeated phrase from every politician about how they plan to spend money more wisely than their competitors.
It’s a phantom promise — a wildly misguided trope that, when broken down into its individual buzzwords, reveals why the inevitable feeling of disillusionment awaits us all at the end of each political cycle no matter who, or which party, wins on Election Day.
Spending. Going back to the General Business 101 definition, it’s the buying or hiring of goods or services. The word suggests that something is being purchased — an item or a service that should have an inherent value for more than one person.
Money. Obviously, the necessary medium for the exchange to take place.
Wisely. Carefully; judiciously; sensibly; shrewdly.
Considering the most common platform this idiom is chanted on — political attack ads, the irony is too thick for us, the American public, to eschew any longer.
How can elected public officials, or those who wish to hold office one day, have the audacity to claim that they will execute their respective agendas with fiscal intelligence and prudence when they have such a blatant disregard for where excess dollars go?
In other words, if a political figure has enough money — raised privately or publicly — to spend five figures on a cruel and depraved advertisement, then the person has already committed a lie to the voters he or she is so desperately trying to win over.
And that desperation is worth mentioning here. It’s the propeller, the driving force, of this whole ridiculous circus that we call American politics.
Most of the money spent on political advertisement is reactionary, or anticipatory. Responding to exaggerated claims or going on the offensive before your opponent gets the first word.
Either way, there’s no winner. The incumbents, the challengers, the candidates for open office (like the president of the United States), the audience — everyone is left knowing, consciously or subconsciously, that this was not money well spent, and that it certainly wasn’t spent with any wisdom.
There are so many other areas that could use a financial boost, even if it’s just $10,000 or $20,000. That’s enough to save a community program or pay a part-time employee.
Instead, it’s wasted on an abhorrent smear campaign that aims only to drop a sledgehammer directly on the adversary’s integrity and devotion to public service.
More like BS.
What should be asked from our politicians this year, as they celebrate their most recent victories at the polls, is that this moronic motto be abolished from future campaigns if they’re going to continue spending recklessly on venomous assaults on TV or flyers in the mail. Frankly, because nobody — winners or losers — is spending money wisely when tens of thousands are sunk every year into whipping up vicious political ads.
If there’s $10,000 or, worse, $50,000 or more left over to spend, then it should go into projects that benefit the largest number of people possible. Otherwise, it’s better off not being spent at all.