Rebuild America with Kickstarters

I’ve often thought of Kickstarter as a fairly useful utility to let people give money to worthy causes. But over the past few weeks, tons of presumably crazy people gave money to some dude who just wanted a couple bucks to make potato salad. As of this posting, the potato salad Kickstarter has raised roughly $60,000. All he needed was $10.

So what gives?

Well, the first and most obvious answer is that sometimes, if people have some money to spare, they like wasting it on incredibly stupid shit. But most Kickstarters tend to have some sort of potential benefit for the donors, this one is just a guy who wants to make potato salad and, in exchange, he’ll maybe give you something potato salad-related.

Macaroni salad I get, but potato salad? Not a goddamn dime.

But then I got to thinking: sure, the potato salad Kickstarter is stupid, but there are plenty of other Kickstarters and fundraisers out there that show the kindness and generosity of ordinary people, raising money for people who’ve risen to viral fame for one reason or another. It’s nice and all, but we should put this to some practical use.

Let’s use Kickstarters to rebuild America.

Now, the few political nerds out there will point out there’s a website out there that lets you give money directly to the government as a gift, but who needs a boring site like that when you can get all excited about Government Kickstarters™?

How would this work? Well, we’d need to designate different Kickstarters for different parts of the economy. Rebuilding America’s roads and bridges: pledge $10,000 to that and receive a personalized thank you message from the head of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Commitee. Supporting government entitlement programs: a $50,000 donation will get you your own personalized gavel, signed by the Speaker of the House.

Of course, you might say, “Josh, what’s the point of this? The government’s supposed to deal with this kind of thing themselves.” Well, sure, but the only places you’ll ever find people churning out surpluses of money are on stupid, gimmicky fundraisers, so if we want to rebuild America, we just might have to descend to that level.

[Editor’s note: No, this wasn’t inspired by Jon Stewart’s CNN Kickstarter yesterday. The author started working on this post last week, but something called laziness kicked in before he could finish it, the bastard.]

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