Saturday, March 21, 2015

Last Call For We Sold Our Country Cheaply

Here's a depressing statistic from Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza:

With reports of Jeb Bush telling donors not to give more than $1 million to his presidential campaign in waiting and Hillary Clinton aiming at a floor of $1 billion raised for her 2016 bid, the hand-wringing over the influence of money in politics has begun (again).

And, yes, lots and lots of money gets spent on elections -- money that, arguably, might be better spent elsewhere. But, it's also important to add a bit of context to the big numbers that get thrown around in terms of campaign spending. Republican pollsters Gene Ulm and Brian O'Bannon do just that in a blog post where they note that the estimated $7 billion spent on the entire two-year 2012 election pales in comparison to the amount of money gambled on the NCAA Tournament bracket from just Monday through Thursday of this past week. 

The duo write: "Significantly more money will be spent on tolerated, but illegal bracket gambling than spent on a legal, but not tolerated presidential election. Begging the question: Is there McCain-Feingold bracket reform in the future?"

What that means of course is that if you want to buy a national election, you only need a couple billion dollars.  That's pretty cheap compared to the trillions that compose our GDP.  You can effectively buy a country's politics for less than one-tenth of one percent of what America produces in a year.

We sell ourselves cheaply, do we not?


no said...

With the right votes bought in congress, I think it could be had for much cheaper..

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Let us never forget that Senator McCain had precisely zero interest in campaign finance reform until he got his hand caught in the cookie jar with the Savings & Loan frauds, a real scandal involving real criminality for which important people actually went to jail - unlike any of this tawdry harassment of the Clintons through insinuation and faux scandal hysterics.

So, needing a quick way to distance himself from his cronies who were going down, McCain teamed up with Mister Clean to make some noise and blow some smoke and distract attention away until the heat died down and he could go back to business as usual: using his wife's beer distributorship millions to buy friends and influence contacts as he clawed his way to the top of the Republican circus.

RepubAnon said...

Another thing to remember: political campaigns use the Enron model of off-the-books spending. I expect the percentage of money spent that is channeled through the official campaigns will be no more than 30% of the overall spend, with 70% of the spending going through dark money groups (or pocketed by scammers).

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