Campaign spending: Enter the oligarchy
October 31, 2010
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The Center for Responsible Politics predicts that total spending for the 2010 campaigns could exceed $4 billion, nearly as much as was spent on the record-setting 2008 campaigns. It is not inconceivable that the 2012 campaigns will surpass the $10 billion mark. This huge load of cash goes solely to a small number of already well-heeled advertising agencies and media outlets. No jobs are created, no bridges repaired, no new textbooks purchased. Beyond the pure obscenity of wasting so much money with so little public benefit there is a much greater concern.
The bulk of these billions is coming from a small number of individuals, trade associations, PACs and corporations. Just as America has seen an ever-growing disparity in wealth distribution –20% of the population owns 84% of the nation’s wealth– we are now undergoing a similar reconcentration of political clout in the hands of a tiny number of individuals and corporate entities. These folks don’t directly control the votes, of course, but they can and do control the message and are free to tell outright lies to support their positions. Thus it’s nearly impossible for voters to get clear, accurate information about candidates and issues.