By Josh Fryfogle
Dollar Voting is the concept that spending money has a political result. In contrast, voting in an election is the equalizer - no matter how rich or poor, your vote is the same. We only get one vote each. However, voter turnout in the voting booth is low, just like public confidence in the system itself. We blame the politicians, no matter who we elect, because little seems to change.
Passing The Buck!
The truth is that our elected representatives could never solve the problems. None of them. The false expectation that they ever could is the real problem. Think about it like this - our government exists because of commerce...
Commerce creates taxes.
Taxes create government.
Government uses taxes to create infrastructure.
Infrastructure creates more commerce.
And the cycle starts all over again...
If it weren’t for the money we spend, there would be nothing to govern!
How often do you consider the political implications of your spending habits?
Dollar Voting is a real thing, with real, immediate results. Perhaps politics, and the drama created by corporate media around politics, has left you with apathy for the whole thing. Who can blame you? You are the majority! Democratically speaking, your lack of engagement in the process is a vote of no confidence!
However, you still vote every day. Dollar Voting is prevalent, constant, and we all do it.
This is how change will happen, with your spending.
The Buck Stops Here
Lately a lot has happened regarding money in politics. The Citizens United v. FEC ruling from the Supreme Court in 2010 established that corporations and unions could spend as much as they choose, to affect the political conversation. However, there is still a limit on individual donations to candidates for office. This contrast created a clearer picture of where political power is sourced. Money. Always has been, always will be. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s only bad when the average person doesn’t realize that they are voting - Dollar Voting - all the time!
Unions, non-profit organizations, corporations, they spend money to make a statement. So do you. So do I. Money Talks.
Money Talks - Money Equals Free Speech
Without money, there is no government. The ideal democracy, philosophically speaking, is just as unattainable as utopia. A beautiful idea, that gets a little dirty in the real world. Practical and pragmatic concerns will always take the lead, and they do so by way of taxation and representation. People who pay taxes have a vested interest. They make their voices heard to our representatives. When we spend our money with someone who owns a local business, we are increasing their influence in our community. Not because of the personal wealth they keep for themselves, but because of the money they spend - and the taxes that creates.
Opponents of the Citizens United ruling are worried, for good reason, that corporations have taken the Dollar Votes of the people through their corporate entities, and redirected those dollar votes towards furthering their financial interests. Meanwhile, the media hypes elections as the be-all-end-all of democracy, separating the concept of spending from politics for the average person.
You Get What You Pay For
In the end, we get what we pay for. This is true in every capacity. You might be oblivious to Citizens United, or you might think its the priority, but your personal spending is the only political voice you really have. No matter who you elect, they can only represent you in the world your Dollar Voting has built.
The government you’ve given them to administer is nothing more than the taxes collected from the money you’ve spent.
Getting Down To Business
Local business owners are naturally more attuned to the subtleties of their community, and the unique dispositions of the people who live here. So, it's really simple. Local business owners are much more likely to consider these nuances of our community, and better serve the best interest of us all.
By shopping locally, we empower the people who have already taken the risk on our community. They have already invested in us.
They live here too, what's good for them is good for you.
It just makes sense that we would trade with each other.
And the best part? If you don't like what they've done, you'll see them around town. They'll see you too. We have to face each other, as neighbors. We can’t blame the home office! We can’t blame the suits! We are in this together. This is an important dynamic, possibly the most important, driving our local economy and shaping our local politics.
When the local government derives most of its tax funding from outside sources, there is less connectivity to the community. It creates an imbalance. It can only dilute the influence of local people.
Think about that.
An All Or Something Proposition
It's not an all or nothing thing.
The solution isn't that everyone stop shopping at Big Box Stores or Online. The solution is to simply think about every purchase we make, and be aware that we are casting a vote, and that it has a political effect. Everyone has a right and responsibility to vote their conscience.
Nothing big. Just think about it. Adjust accordingly.