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home : opinions : opinions February 05, 2016

10/28/2012 10:32:00 PM
Editorial: End the madness: Limit spending

People are hungry. People are losing their homes. People can't find jobs. People are on the streets.

And, we read Associated Press reports that tell us of the astounding amounts of money that campaigns for office are raising and spending during this election season.

The 2012 race for the White House, campaign accounting statements indicate, is the costliest in American history. Last week, the flow of cash was expected to surpass the $2 billion mark.

According to AP, President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, amassed more than $1.5 billion through the end of September. These figures do not include $130 million that nonprofit organizations have spent on campaign advertising because they are not required to file campaign finance reports.

One positive aspect of this monetary picture is that both major party candidates chose not to take money from the public financing system established to put limits on how much a presidential candidate can raise and spend. Both Romney and Obama would have been eligible for $100 million in taxpayer money to finance their campaigns through the General Election.

Right here in Arizona, political groups have spent nearly $30 million on television advertising in what many perceive as one of the nastiest campaigns among certain candidates the state has ever witnessed.

It's only fair to point the finger at almost every politician seeking a win in the Nov. 6 election. With a week remaining, the campaign-spending toll is bound to go even higher across the board as candidates make a last-ditch effort toward victory in the General Election.

American campaigning has spun out of control in the amount of money candidates and their supporters throw at trying to win votes. When campaigns get dirty, the money seems to swirl in a cesspool.

Great Britain has it right and has since 1883.

The United Kingdom regulates campaign spending by limiting the expenditures of both political parties and individual candidates instead of limiting donations that parties and individuals can receive.

What falls into the Brits' definition of "political expenditures"? Here is what they have deemed worthy of limits on spending: "party political broadcasts, advertising, unsolicited materials in elections, manifesto or other policy documents, market research and canvassing, media/publicity, transport, rallies or other events."

America's General Election draws near, and the citizenry grows weary of campaigning that has dragged on for months, even years in some cases.

The Brits have it right on this score, too.

Candidates have six weeks to convince voters they are the best picks for the elected offices they seek.

True. Politicians never quit campaigning, no matter the country.

But, limited spending and a narrower time frame for campaigning for the next election might end some of the madness.

Food for thought.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen

Simple Answer: Term limits

US President: One term, 6 years
US Senate: Two terms, 6 years each
US House: Three terms, 3 years each


Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Prescott Voter

While sharing the disgust of many for the obscene amounts of money and the never ending barrage of ads on TV, junk filling up my mailbox, and the incessant phone calls, the Courier's editors should know that the US Supreme Court on more than one occasion has struck down laws that do just what the editors are advocating, deeming any involuntary restrictions on campaign spending as a violation of the free speech provisions to the First Amendment. So, nice job of venting but otherwise a waste of a good editorial opportunity.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Third Party Time!

tghis country is desperately in need of a third party without the "rich politicians", BS campaign speeches and lies and promises. Also, the president should be paid according to his accomplishments and we don't need a worthless VP who collects $250,000 yrly for doing nothing. Also, NO credit card or free vacations and let's rid of AF1, too costly.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: DEFICIT PROBLEMS

The "rich" politicians in the WH should be paid according to their accomplishments, and let them use their own money for transportation, campaigning, vacations, and entertaining, and that includes the president.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Rich Politicians

All politicians are rich and have alot of money in reserve. Maybe Obama can used his campaign money to pay down the deficit he tripled since 2008. He sure knows how to spend our taxpayer's money while criticizing Romney for being rich. Laughable and disgusting when he spend so much of our taxpayer's money on expensive vacations, dinners, and frivolous entertaining in the WH. The Kennedys made their millions on their old man's bootlegging and illegal affairs, John Kerry is as rich as Romney and no liberal medica criticized him when he ran for the presidency. Seems double-standards are at it again. Can any politician relate to the middle-class or do they just say that to get our votes?

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Small Potatoes

Here I thought this was about our $16T+ debt. Campaign spending is small potatoes.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Remember the Alamo

Well on the plus side - those in favor of stimulus spending are getting their wish. The campaigns are pumping billions of dollars into the US economy. And it is NOT tax dollars for a change.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Steele

Maybe limiting campaigns would be the answer. We can't control the money.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: bob grant

The british system set budget for each ,also only three weeks of campaign.takes a year to learn the job a year to do the job two years to keep it ,thats crazY!!!

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: Can't Happen Here

The more success in capturing the state houses and the US Congress, the more chances to gut regulation, environmental protections, labor laws, competitive advantages over smaller competitors, favorable tax rates and special subsidies. The more money the billionaires and the corporations they own can take, the more they can invest capturing our government. And, they can remain anonymous.

In my book, that is a swindle of the American public.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: my decision

I am so disgusted that there is no way I can or will give my vote to any of the candidates involved in these nasty advertisements we are having to endure. I will not be voting along party lines, and may never again. I have lost confidence that our two party system will ever work together again. We are doomed.

Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012
Article comment by: But Say ...

... That two billion dollars has provided a lot of revenue for all types of media and their employees, not to mention all the companies that specialize in creating the campaign advertising and all the people who go around digging up dirt on the opponents. Really, isn't it all about the jobs? But, alas, what with the campaign season coming to an end, that will signal a rise in the unemployment rate from the newly unemployed paid campaign people.

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