A Fiscally Responsible Response

This is going to be an interesting election cycle, that’s for sure. Sitting Democrats are dropping out of their re-election campaigns every day, and I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more activity as we get farther into the cycle.

One thing that annoys me, more than candidates who share e-mail addresses without my knowledge, are political mailers that masquerade as surveys or “taxpayer ballots” and turn out to be nothing more than a beg for dollars.

Before I begin, let me state that I am a huge fan of The Heritage Foundation. I receive alerts from them all the time and I visit their site a few times each week. I think they do a lot of good in their effort to inform the American public about what’s really going on in Washington, but with that said, I have to add that I am quite disappointed this evening.

I received an envelope in the mail today that said it was a ‘2010 Taxpayer Ballot on Fiscal Responsibility’. The letter that accompanied the ‘ballot’ explained the results of the nationwide ballot would be used as a wake up call for political leaders. They appealed to me, as a concerned American, to represent my state and help the Heritage Foundation bring responsibility and accountability to our government.

The letter revealed startling facts, some of which involved waste I was shocked to read about. $200,000 for a tattoo removal program, a $2.1 million grape genetics study, and $4.5 million for wood utilization research were just the tips of the blob of pork floating out of Washington on the Potomac.

I was anxious to help and began opening the ballot before I even finished reading the letter. The letter which concluded by telling me that The Heritage Foundation does all of their work thanks to voluntary gifts of individuals just like me. Whoa.

I might sound like a tight-wad but I don’t donate to any political organization. None. Nil. It’s just a personal policy of mine. If part of your appeal to help “change Washington” include an appeal for money then I’m probably the last person you should contact because I believe the reason Washington has gotten so bad is because people keep throwing money around frivolously in the name of politics.

I’m not saying The Heritage Foundation, or what they do, is frivolous, but concluding the “2010 Taxpayer Ballot on Fiscal Responsibility” with a direct plea to return my ballot along with my “most generous tax-deductible contribution” is just a little bit insulting.

Does my opinion count less if I am not generous with my donation? Would my opinions matter more if I dontated a large amount of money? Why didn’t the ballot have an option to check ‘No, I don’t wish to make a contribution at this time, but keep up the good work’? Is my ballot still counted if I left that last part blank? I understand the need for fundraising, but was it really fiscally responsible to ask for money in a survey slamming politicians for spending so much of our money already?

It may be a bit naive to think this way, but I do think if you’re looking for honest results in a survey of the American public, you shouldn’t be asking them for money as a direct part of that survey.