NASCAR and Finance Reform
By Marc Auerbach

[Aired on KQED-FM's "Perspectives" series April 4, 2001]

I think the political system could learn a lot from NASCAR. I propose that politicians be required to wear the logos of their contributors whenever they speak on television or appear in public, just like Dale Jarrett, Jeff Gordon or Sterling Marlin do.

Each logo would have to be proportional to the size of the contribution. Imagine George W. Bush appearing on the White House lawn in a white suit with, Vinson & Elkins, Andersen Worldwide, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Ernst & Young patches on his arms and torso, and wearing a baseball cap with MBNA America Bank emblazoned on it.

Al Gore, during his campaign, would have also sported an Ernst & Young patch which astute observers would have noted appeared on Bush's clothing. Al would also be sporting logos from, Citigroup Inc., Viacom Inc., the US Department of Agriculture, and Goldman Sachs Group.

Supporters could even buy space on the candidates' limousines. Instead of STP and Pepsi one might find Exxon and ADM logos splashed across the hood. And wouldn't the president's limo look sporty with the raised white letters of Goodyear visible on those bulletproof tires?

This proposal solves many of the thorny issues of campaign finance reform. Sure you can require disclosure of the sources of funding, but then people have to get up off their couches, go to their computers and look it up.

By wearing their supporters on their sleeves, people get finance information at the same time as the message. A politician spouting off about the benefits of bankruptcy reform while wearing the logo of a major bank might take on a whole new meaning. For the corporations, it would be a way of putting their money where their mouthpieces are.

In an era where we think nothing of putting the name of the highest bidder on our public arenas, why not put the names of the highest bidders on our public officials? Hey, maybe politicians would even take to wearing those fire-proof suits.

With a perspective, I'm Marc Auerbach

[Announcer] Marc Auerbach lives and writes in Silicon Valley, and has plenty of room available on his windbreaker.

© Copyright 2001 Marc Auerbach