Money in Politics
By Jerome Grossman
"Politics has got so expensive that it takes lots of money to even get beat with".
Will Rogers, 1931
"Nothing but money
Is sweeter then honey"
Benjamin Franklin, 1735
"Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce"
President James A. Garfield, 1880
"Knowledge - Zzzzp! Money-Zzzzp! - Power! That’s the cycle democracy is built on!
Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie", 1945
How important is money in politics? The Federal Election Commission has recently released the following information:
In 2006 the top spenders won 94% of US House of Representative races:
and 73% of the U.S. Senate races
In 2004 the top spenders won 78% of US House of Representative races
and 88% of the U.S. Senate races
Figures for 2008 election are not yet available but we know that at least $5 billion was spent on Presidential, House, Senate races and that President-elect Barack Obama outspent GOP nominee John McCain by an estimated margin of at least three to one, giving Obama a great advantage in advertising, paid workers, organization.
Clearly, well meant initiatives like the McCain- Feingold election law controlling political spending in elections has failed. However, we cannot cease efforts to make the electoral process fair to candidates with fewer resources. Our national goals of equality and democracy demand continued searches for the right formula.