On June 15th, President Obama sent an e-mail out to supporters informing them about a raffle offering a “casual dinner” with the commander in chief. The money raised from the raffle will go to his re-election campaign.
The e-mail read in part:
“We rely on everyday Americans giving whatever they can afford -- and I want to spend time with a few of you. So if you make a donation today, you'll be automatically entered for a chance to be one of the four supporters to sit down with me for dinner. We'll pay for your flight and the dinner -- all you need to bring is your story and your ideas about how we can continue to make this a better country for all Americans.”
Then on June 27th he upped the ante and sent out another e-mail, this time with a video featuring the president saying, “I’ve got a pretty big announcement about that contest the campaign is running where you can join me for dinner...We’re setting another place at the table for Joe Biden.”
For those readers who are on a tight budget and don’t shop at Whole Foods this is called a "BOGO"—buy one get one free!
While these solicitations were sent as e-mails, it reminded me of the big envelope you used to get in U.S. mail from the Publisher’s Clearing House with “You might already be a winner!” splashed across the front.
And it got me to thinkin’ that if the president can raise money with an old-fashioned raffle, maybe we can use some other tried and true fundraising techniques to raise money to pay down the national debt.
When I was growing up, back when Eisenhower was president, every baseball season my brothers and I sold bags of charcoal to support our local Little League. And just as young girls do today my sister sold Girl Scout cookies.
It wasn’t just about raising money. It was also supposed to teach you the value of a dollar and that in order to get what you want in life you have to work for it. Both of these are foreign concepts in Washington.
And since tax increases are out and Congress can’t seem to shake their addiction to spending, they have to find money somewhere.
So here’s a few ideas that the folks in the America outside the Beltway and East of the Hudson River do to make money to pay for things their community wants or needs.
First, the federal government ought to hold a nationwide garage sale. Like most Americans they probably have warehouses full of things they don’t need anymore and wonder why they bought them in the first place. It will be kinda strange having the taxpayers buy things they already paid for but hell it’s for a good cause.
Next Congress should stop holding town halls at the local community center and switch their district visit events to car washes at a local gas station. Their staffs can stand at the street corner and wave signs to get the folks to stop in and help their country by getting their car washed and waxed. Forget hollerin’ at him or her at a town hall where he or she gives you a poll tested, focus grouped cattle crap answer. Then imagine tellin’ your dripping wet, sweaty member of Congress that he missed a spot on your hood and you want him to do it all over.
Just like high school band members sell candy bars to pay for special trips or uniforms, all federal bureaucrats will be required to sell candy bars to fund their departments. For example, in the Department of Energy there are approximately 16,000 employees and their budget request for Fiscal Year 2012 is $29.5 billion. That means each employee would have to sell a little over $1.8 million in candy bars. At five bucks a bar they would have to sell about 368,000 each. If they come up short, their budget will be cut by the amount of the difference between what they asked for and what they raised.
I suggest they get cracking.
Or how about in each congressional district they hold a carnival a few times a year with a Dunk-Your-Congressman tank. Five balls for five dollars. Seniors can pick a younger relative to throw their balls. The line will be around the block and it will produce big bucks!
I also thought they could have bake sales but then I remembered that Obama signed a child nutrition bill that bans them for raising money in schools because Michelle Obama wants us all to eat healthy. I am quite sure that if bake sales were proposed she would put a stop to them and the ACLU or some nanny state do-gooders would sue to stop the sales.
Now at a national debt that is $14 trillion and counting it will take a whole bunch of garage sales and candy bars and car washes and carnivals to pay this down.
But at least Congress and all of the bureaucrats in Washington will feel what their constituents are going through. They could also do some real work for a change instead of all that dang talkin’, tweetin’ and meetin’ they do that achieves absolutely nothing.
Patrick Dorinson blogs at "The Cowboy Libertarian" and he can be heard on a radio program with the same name on Sundays, from 3-5 p.m. PT on KFBK radio.