The economy is in rough shape these days. My business not only suffers from a dwindling client base (most of the wiser people vacated Michigan long ago, taking their children with them), it is also being hit by high costs – mostly due to the mumbo-jumbo of regulatory doublespeak coming from Lansing – and continuing competition. Competition is a good thing for us capitalists, but we haven’t raised our prices since 2000. We can’t, or we wouldn’t have customers at all. On the other hand, I’m willing to bet that the price of gas, food and incidentals have gone up since then.
Being a resourceful person, I’ve been looking around for ways to bring in more money to my household. We’ve been bouncing our ideas around like tennis balls in an empty swimming pool. Of course, in this day and age, you have to be careful. Having a novel idea, one that no one has thought of, helps. Protecting your entrepreneurial thought from predators is another. There should be low or no overhead and a high return on whatever investment is made. Ventures should be within the boundaries of the law.
With this in mind, I set out to sell my vote come November 4. This includes the state ballot as well as the presidential choice.
For one thing, I am not impressed by the presidential race, so my vote is blowing in the breeze like a hanging chad. In good conscience, I can’t honestly pull the lever (or in my case, mark the spot) for either candidate. Anyway, since I have this vote, why not make some money from it? My original thought was to make enough to bring both my children home from college for the Christmas break. I’m thinking $1000 should cover it.
What? Sell my vote? It’s blasphemy, you say?
Well, no, not really, take a look at the facts.
After all, politicians do it all the time. Take a look at the city of Detroit. Let’s say you own a consulting business and have a couple thousand extra bucks burning a hole in your pocket. Theoretically you can grease the palm of a councilman and get them to vote to use your firm for the job. Heck, they even approved a guy to sell copiers to the city when he doesn’t own a copier company, nor is he employed by any copier company. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in Detroit, and that’s just one almost-major metropolitan city.
When you climb the ladder into state and federal government, the amount of money a person needs in order to buy a vote increases. Thanks to PACs and assorted lobbyists, a person can possibly make big money by being a state representative, Congressman, or Senator. Who knew that the pot of gold was not at the end of the rainbow, but on the steps of our government?
With this in mind, I formulated a plan to sell my vote. At first, I looked into standing on the street corner with a sandwich board. Everyone is doing that nowadays; in fact, the other day I saw guys from two different quick oil change places standing across the street from each other waving cars down with their signs. Florists are doing it. Little Caesar’s. Condo builders. But we are talking about standing on a street corner in Michigan, and it can get mighty nippy here in the fall. That idea promptly fell to the wayside.
My next thought was to check out eBay. I’ve used eBay before, and they make it incredibly simple to sell anything. The bonus is that they take just about anything a person wants to sell. I’ve seen dust bunnies for sale, grilled cheese sandwiches with Jesus’ face depicted on it, ad space on pregnant women’s stomachs, and the snowfall in North Carolina, just to name a few oddities, so I am thinking that eBay would make an excellent platform for auctioning my vote. Besides, I was on the site anyway, selling some junk I no longer need or hardly use, so that I could have a little spending money for Christmas presents.
My next step was to read the Terms of Service and the list of prohibited items. No where does it say that votes cannot be sold. Just to make sure, I emailed eBay. I’m sure their crack legal team is working on it even as I type. Since I gave them 24 hours and they didn’t respond, I took this as a sign to list my vote for auction. In addition to the “no reserve” auction, half of the proceeds from my vote sale will be going to the Humane Society. Pets are suffering in this economy, too.
I had high hopes for my auction, until I discovered that my vote probably has no value! How, you may ask? Well, it appears that I can take a short forty-five minute car ride down to Ohio (gas being dirt cheap now, and I drive a Prius anyway) and register to vote, not just once but many times! In fact, one guy claims to have registered to vote 72 times!
If I liked either candidate, I might have done that.
This news told me one thing. My vote is devalued, much like our US dollar. I could see the prospects of another family Christmas with us all together in front of the fireplace evaporate like smoke. Just like the shares in the stock market, my vote suddenly went from a potential worth of $1000 or more to less than nothing.
Now I know how Ford Motor felt when their stock went down to $2.40 a share today.
I guess it didn't really matter, because eBay removed my posting. They said my listing was promoting an "illegal activity." How they can determine that when votes all over the country are bought and sold on a daily basis is beyond me.
My only recourse is to run for Congress. I'm thinking that’s where my vote is worth big money.
This cautionary tale is to let the common man know that their vote is barely worth the ink their ballot is printed with.