As celebration confetti is swept up and election candidates gather their yard signs, another election cycle has come to a close. And while debates, speeches and other public events covered many political and policy topics, one discussion was glaringly absent — the fiscal irresponsibility plaguing both major political parties.
With the national debt now topping $21 trillion, budgets are continuing to expand as federal government programs grow and new agendas are funded. The path we are on is unsustainable, and our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be paying a heavy price for the financial decisions our government officials make today. Now, more than ever, it is time we demand fiscal responsibility from those we elect.
One way to accomplish this is to ask candidates to release their credit scores to the public. People’s personal values often translate into their professional lives, and political candidates are no exception. The way candidates portray themselves in ads, on social media and in other campaign materials is an attempt to paint a picture of how they want us, the public, to see them. They are trying to sell an image that leads to their election. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for the average citizen to check the validity of these claims due to constraints on time and resources. A credit score, however, allows the public to weigh a tangible fact when it comes to a candidate’s fiscal responsibility.
Releasing credit scores is already a prerequisite for many jobs. In fact, employers require a credit check 29 percent of the time when making employment decisions. Years ago, in a professional role as a fiduciary agent, I was subjected to an initial credit audit upon application, and then it was demanded yearly. The reason employers complete these inspections is to determine if we are capable of handling large amounts of money. Shouldn’t we require the same of candidates we the people hire to represent us and handle our hard-earned tax dollars?
Some may argue that asking candidates for their credit score infringes on their privacy. However, the public already demands candidates share a host of personal information, including their tax returns. Furthermore, in a world where not only our candidates, but everyday citizens, are on display through social media and the internet, asking for a number seems a small burden to ask of those running for office.5 comments on this story
American voters should demand candidates provide their credit scores, voluntarily, and not through legislation. This still gives a candidate the option to share their information, in a way they determine is best.
If a culture of candidates sharing their credit scores takes hold, it will not be the silver bullet that cures our country of fiscal irresponsibility. And the benefits of this idea only go as far as the American public is willing to become educated and participate in the democratic process. But with all that said, it is a step in the right direction that should include tackling our massive national debt.