Unity08 Forgets Inflation in its Money Hype
Unity08 is a political corporation which is using a team of lawyer-lobbyists to overturn current campaign finance legal limits so that it can take money contributions of unlimited size. That’s what it does in private. In public, it tries to garner financial contributions by hollering about the scandalous state of big money politics. Take this latest statement on the front page of its website:
Some Candidates Can Raise That Much At One Event! The 1920 race for the White House was the first time there was a big controversy about how much money was spent on the campaign trail, ABC News reports. Then, Gen. Leonard Wood spent over $2 million on his run.
Yes, and if you read Little House on the Prairie, you can find out that in the late 1800s, schoolkids could buy their own “slates” (portable blackboards) for just a dime! And you could buy a gold pen for just $1.50! Boy howdy, things sure were a whole lot more inexpensive back then…
… unless you account for inflation, the decrease in the purchasing value of money over time. Unity08 has forgotten about inflation here. $2,000,000 of 1920 money is worth $23,312,000 in 2007 (Tom’s Inflation Calculator), which is approximately what Barack Obama raised in the first quarter of 2007. Leonard Wood’s warchest was only for the presidential primaries, indicating that during this current cycle, a candidate on the order of Barack Obama might raise about 4 times as much as Wood. Unsuccessful candidates (as Wood was) will raise much less than Wood. Considering the increased expenses of modern campaigns and the much-increased size of the American population, there isn’t the sort of exponential increase that Unity08 hollers about.
Taking eensy little details like inflation into account, Unity08’s claim that “Some Candidates Can Raise That Much At One Event!” is so far out of line with fact as to be laughable. No candidate has ever raised $23.3 million at one event. But hey, you know, facts are little things when compared with impressions. Details are unimportant if you can convey the vision thing. Elections and presidencies don’t need careful execution, they need the expression of feeling. And if you believe that, I’ve got a laptop computer I’d like to sell you — for only $250 in dollars from the year 1800. Some Laptops Cost Four Times That Amount!