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February 23, 2010

Time For The Annual OMG Campaigns Are Expensive We're Screwed Story

This showed up on both Jake Tapper and Major Garrett's Twitter feeds, so I think it's safe to say it will be a main stream story today.

With Democrats battling to keep control of both chambers of Congress and Republicans eager to make gains, the money race is fast underway for 2010's federal midterm elections.

By the time that every dollar is spent and every check is cashed, the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics estimates the cost of the Nov. 2 contests will be more than $3.7 billion.

"With so much on the line, the outpouring of big money into federal campaigns looks likely to continue at a brisk pace," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics. "Additionally, the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission could precipitate millions more in spending by special interest groups looking to advance their own agendas."

This prediction is a conservative estimate that includes spending by U.S. Senate and U.S. House candidates and political parties. It also estimates spending by so-called 527 committees and independent expenditures on advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts by outside political action committees to support and oppose candidates.

It does not include a projection for how much money could come directly from corporations, unions, trade associations or other special interest groups in advertisements stemming from the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that reversed the ban on independent expenditures by corporations. These groups are now free to spend unlimited sums on such advertisements -- and there is no precedent on which to base an estimate of how much money corporations and organizations will spend through this new political money mechanism.

$3.7 billion is a lot of money for say me or you. In the grand scheme of things however, not so much.

That 3.7 billion is about what the NFL gets every year from NBC, CBS and ESPN in rights fees.

$3.7 billion will just cover the the $3.45 billion bill Americans are expected to run up on pet grooming this year. It won't however come anywhere near covering the $17.5 billion that will be shelled out on pet food.

And the $3,7 is a fraction of the $15 billion 'jobs' bill currently under consideration in the Senate. It's not even a rounding error in the $3.27 TRILLION 'stimulus'.

We simply aren't spending that much money on politics compared to a lot of other things. The spin on this kind of story is always a call for greater limits on contributions and spending. Some will even say we should have public financing of campaigns. Apparently we have to limit freedom to save it or something.

If you really want to see less money spent on politics, shrink the size and influence of government. If Washington and state capitals weren't so deep into picking winners and losers in this country, the value of participating in a campaign to influence elected officials would be diminished. That would cut the spending on campaigns but that's never on the table.


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posted by DrewM. at 01:46 PM

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