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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Castlewrite

Capitalism for Politicians

It is rather ironic that the very politicians who claim that capitalism and a free market are the solution to all our problems, don't want it to apply to them. At least not when it comes to their paychecks.

Vote with your Dollar

Whenever a corporation does something that people consider abhorrent - like having children under the age of 10 collect raw materials for their products - politicians say that we, the people, need to vote with our dollars. Yet, when the very same politicians do something unethical, we need to wait until the next election cycle to vote them out.

This makes little sense.

After all, we pay their salaries with our tax dollars. So, why not have quarterly income adjustments? A simple text message to a number that each constituent sets up, receives a text message every three months. The response is a simple 1-10 scale of how well the voters feel the politician is doing.

The representative's salary would be a range, somewhere between minimum wage and the median family income in their respective state. So, if the elected official is doing a terrific job and at least 60% give him or her a score of 10, this person would effectively earn double what a single individual makes in said state. However, if the majority gives the individual in question a score of 1, the politician gets to earn minimum wage.

I realize that minimum wage is not enough to live on, for most people. However, someone elected to represent a group of constituents, should have a basic grasp of budgeting. Therefore, this individual should have enough money for a rainy day, or rainy quarter in this case. If not, perhaps this person should not be entrusted with budgeting taxpayer dollars either.

Some may argue, that this would open the door for desperate politicians to take bribes. Yet, this too is taken into account by my Free Market Electoral Pay-Scale. Simply put, if this hypothetical politician is so dependent on his or her salary remaining at its maximum, that a reduction over the course of three months would lead this person to betray their oath of office, then perhaps this individual does not have the skill set to run said office.

In other words, this person should have already established a safety net, that would allow him or her to continue paying bills in the event of a pay cut. After all, when people get laid off, due to no fault of their own, the only thing most of them get is unemployment. In fact, it may be worth considering that after three quarters at minimum wage, the politician should be removed from office, regardless. Just to ensure that he or she is not tempted to begin taking bribes.

Now, it is evident that a newly elected politician needs time to ramp up, fix the mistakes of a predecessor, etc. For this reason, a one-year grace period would be in place, for the first year in any given office. However, salary should not be the constituents' only recourse.


Most political offices have a second who can step in - Vice President, Lieutenant Governor, etc. This too should be tied into the quarterly system. So as to mitigate the damage an elected official can cause. So, if a politician becomes entrenched in a scandal, legal, ethical, or otherwise, he or she could be suspended, until such a time that the issue is resolved. There could even be a simple false-claim safeguard in place, which would afford swift justice, in the event of false claims.

Thus, if a politician were to be falsely accused, anyone contributing to or reporting on the situation without empirical facts would be forced to pay triple the salary, court costs, and any reputational restitution.

Combined, these elements would result in candidates who are both qualified and accountable to do their jobs. Plus, should a pretender manage to get elected, the cost to taxpayers would be minimized and for the underperforming politicians... well, there's always Uber.

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