One of the objections often heard coucilling against moving up our presidential primary is cost. In order to actually go out of our way to let Pennsylvanians cast a meaningful vote on who runs the country– which is viewed as a tangential issue at best– we may have to add a small handful of secondary primaries in the spring so the spendthrifts in our midst can ask to raise our taxes.
What would be the additional cost? Well, it’s tough to say. I have some calls into our Dept. of State so I can sort of get a fake answer to that question. Nobody else I can find has provided it. We do know, though, it costs about $18 million dollars to hold primary elections in every precinct in the Commonwealth. So in the hugely unlikely case we had to hold two primaries in half of all precincts we would be talking about $9m dollars.
Certainly not chump change. Let’s put this is perspective, though.
Here we learn our General Assembly has set aside roughly $360m in “Walking Around Money”. This is the money our representatives can use to dole out small grants from the useful, like for additional unbudgeted stoplights, to the corrupt, like stealth payments to cronies and contributors. It’s pretty much a gigantic slush fund of your money dispersed according the the whims of our representives subject to little oversight.
I will grudingly give up my right, temporarily, to do something as fundamental as vote for president as soon as my represetatives become willing to give up their right to throw my money around like a satrap tosses change for beggar children. Incidentally, the latter is not enshrined in our nation’s founding documents, so I’m probably already offering too many concessions.
In the meantime, those thieves in Harrisburg can do me a solid and let me vote. Of course, I exclude Mike Folmer from that club, as we will hopefully be meeting for drinks sometime soon whereupon I will prevail upon him to join our cause. See? I’m as easily bribed as anybody!