The Corner

A Third of a Billion

Maybe compensation should have been capped a long time ago! From First Read:

Can You Spare Some Change? Here’s a fun number… Since 2000, Jon Corzine and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg have remarkably spent a combined $338.8 million on their campaigns. Bloomberg’s total: $216.8 million ($74 million in 2001, $77.8 million in 2005, and $65 million SO FAR in 2009 — and he’s on pace to break his ’05 total). Corzine: $122 million ($65 million in 2000 for U.S. Senate, $40 million in 2005 for governor, and $17 million so far on his reelection this year — he had promised to spend $40-$50 million on this race). By the way, the country of Bloomborzine, funded just by these campaign expenditures, would have the 213th largest GDP in the world — between Tonga and the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe. (Here’s another comparison: In his 2009 race, former T-Mobile exec Joe Mallahan, a Democrat, has spent a Seattle mayoral record of his own money for the campaign, $230,000.)

Update: from a reader:

Why are you criticizing Corzine and Bloomberg? They made their money, they should be able to spend it how they want, even to buy elections. It is free speech.

You are starting to sound like a liberal.

Sigh, just for the record, I have no problem with mega-rich egomaniacs blowing their money on political campaigns. I was being lighthearted, I’m sorry the reader missed that.

But for the record I do have a problem with super-rich people spending their own money on campaigns to promote policies that will make it harder for the rest of us to get super-rich. I also think it’s a flaw in our political system that says it’s okay for 1 billionaire to try to buy an election for himself but it’s “corrupt” for 10 centimillionaires or 100 millionaires to coordinate support for an un-rich candidate. Campaign finance laws create a system where only a certain type of professional politician and the crazy rich can raise the money for office, but nobody else can.