If Money Equals Speech, It’s Time For Political Campaigns To Shut Up

It’s time for publicly financed campaigns, period. If it’s good enough for other advanced democracies like England and Germany — where the government limits campaign spending by being the sole source of funding them — then it’s good enough for the U.S. Because this money-equals-free-speech thing clearly has gotten out of hand.

A few things stand out here:

  • Obama trumped Romney in individual campaign contributions $556M to $340M, but Romney lapped Obama with three times the Super PAC money.
  • Romney's biggest state for campaign contributions was California, a state he had no chance of winning.
  • Two-thirds of Obama’s contributions came from small donors (< $200) while Romney’s largest contributor group was large donors ($2000+).
  • The vaunted Obama “ground game” was 18% of his campaign’s overall spending (payroll and administration, for a total of $135.8M), double the spending of the Romney campaign’s 10% of spending ($63.9M).
  • The combined campaigns spent $2.85 for every man, woman, and child (U.S. population 314,785,298 Americans as per Census.gov November 18, 2012). Add in the super PACs, and total election spending grows to $4.58 per American. Just get me a gallon of gas if you're trying to buy my vote.
  • Lincoln’s campaign is the closest thing we've seen to sensible campaign finance spending. It’s time we brought that back (keep the stovepipe hat, though).

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