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Voting with Dollars: A New Paradigm for Campaign Finance Paperback – February 10, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (February 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030010149X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300101492
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,469,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"One of the few genuinely original contributions to the debate over campaign finance reform." Cass R. Sunstein, Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago; "This breakthrough book initiates the long-overdue effort to examine alternative approaches to campaign finance reform." Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union and Professor of Law, New York Law School; "The creative radicalism of Voting with Dollars can only help jolt Washington's campaign 'reformers' out of their 25-year rut." Jonathan Rauch, Washington Monthly; "Ackerman and Ayres provide a fresh and provocative way of thinking about the interaction between dollars and votes, and a fascinating out-of-the-box solution for what's wrong." Robert B. Reich, Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy, Brandeis University, and former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration"

From the Back Cover

"Ackerman and Ayres provide a fresh and provocative way of thinking about the interaction between dollars and votes, and a fascinating out-of-the-box solution for what's wrong."--Robert B. Reich, Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy, Brandeis University and former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration;"One of the few genuinely original contributions to the debate over campaign finance reform."--Cass R. Sunstein, Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago; "This breakthrough book initiates the long-overdue effort to examine alternative approaches to campaign finance reform."--Nadine Strossen, President of the American Civil Liberties Union and Professor of Law, New York Law School ; "The creative radicalism of Voting with Dollars can only help jolt Washington's campaign 'reformers' out of their 25-year rut."-Jonathan Rauch, Washington Monthly

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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William Corbett on October 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Full disclosure: I just started a non-profit with the authors to educate people about ideas like those in Voting With Dollars. Our website is at [...] Here's why I joined the effort.

The Citizen Sovereignty Act, a two-part legislative proposal detailed in Voting With Dollars, would invigorate citizen involvement in politics and remedy cynicism about campaign fundraising.

The Act would fundamentally reform federal campaign fundraising by extending voters the use of automated teller machines for publicly funded campaign contributions of "Patriot dollars," and; by rendering private campaign contributions anonymous, mimicking the secret ballot as a safeguard to the integrity of the political process.

A major benefit of these innovations is to allow a substantial increase in campaign contribution limits and associated free speech. Other, more incremental efforts to reform federal campaign finance fall short of the Citizen Sovereignty Act.

* The Act eliminates the sale of political access for political funds while increasing the funding and opportunity for free speech.

* The Act redirects the permanent campaign of political fund-raising toward all the nation's voters and away from the one-half of one percent who today make half of all contributions.

* By potentially involving every American in political fund-raising, the Act increases voter participation on Election Day.

Voting With Dollars details the Act and how it satisfies constitutional requirements. A model statute provides a concrete basis for an effort to restore faith in Congress and the Executive Branch.

Read Voting With Dollars. Take a look at [...] Get involved in making it possible for everyone to participate in the money primary of American politics.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sing T. Loc on August 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Voting With Dollars was a book that seemed interesting after reading The 2% Solution by Matthew Miller. Bruce Ackerman and Ian Ayres talks about the strong influence of money in politics and how we as citizens, can take back our politicians away from corporations (PACs, lobbyist, etc). Since money talks and BS walks, they have introduced the "patriot dollars" concept. This "dollar" allow us to give money to people who would normally not run for office because of the price tag of getting into office. We are still able to use these dollars for a Democrat or a Republican, but the option of helping a third party is made available. Ackerman and Ayres follow up the "patriot dollar" with their "secret donation booth." This can be accessed through any ATM (which should be readily available in America). The "secret donation booth" is designed to limit the influence of wealthy donors (they are not proposing donation limits). By doing that, politicians are more focused on what the general public needs, not what "special interest" need. They readily admit that money will always be involved in political office but their goal is to minimize the influence of large rich donors and increase the influence of "average" citizens. Excerpt from their book: "Short of the abolition of free markets and private property, there is simply no way to eliminate the influence of private money on democratic politics-and to paraphrase Madison, surely this cure is far worse than the disease." As for disliking the book or a negative feedback, I can't think of one because it has not been implemented. Every election cycle, we talk about campaign finance reform and still nothing happens. When a reform is suggested, lawyers find loopholes and exploit it. Ackerman and Ayres go through every possible loophole in their proposal and explain what can be done to make their proposal viable. Just as important, their proposal is Constitutionally sound.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hezron Karanja on December 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
An alternative approach proposed in this book is novel. The idea that campaign funding should be taken over by the citizens. As for the government campaign funds, the citizens should be in control to divert that money the best way they deem fit. Each citizen with a $50 government issued ATM directs their share of the funds to a political party or a candidate of their choice, and all this is done anonymously. If the recipients of these funds do not know who gave it to them (other than it generally came from the citizenry), then the need for special interests and political paybacks will not arise. Perfect! right? Yes, at least in theory it is.

Practically it wouldn't work. Because such a change would require congressional passage, and common sense dictates that no politician will vote for such suicidal career killing bill. Special interests unfortunately have created a very influencial industry with epic powers to make or break politicians. He who has the deepest campaign finance pockets has most power, and congress will most likely never vote for a bill that eliminates lobbyists and special interests. They will all tell you it's a vice, but it's a vice they do not want to eliminate.

To correlate an example: Would a police officer or a criminal justice official wish for less crime? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that it makes society safer, and no because - in a twisted way - crime creates jobs, opportunities and (like it or not) it makes colorful and distinguished careers.

In theory, we are the government of the people, for the people and by the people. But the prestige of power doesn't lie with the citizenry (even though our civic and history books lament as such). It rests with the politicians and with that, it extends to big oil, wall street, insurance industry etc.
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