That's right, I said $5 million.
Oh. Really? Hmmm.
As Steve Sailer says, this is chump change:
Now, T. Boone Pickens giving $165 million to get Oklahoma State almost into the BCS title game — that's significant money. But $5 million sounds like what some used car dealer ponies up to get his college football team's weight room refurbished, not the kind of serious moolah that may determine the course of American history. Reading these articles, I feel like I'm in that scene in "Austin Powers" where Dr. Evil is defrosted after 30 years and threatens to blow up the world if he's not given "One. Million. Dollars!"
Lady Gaga made a reported $90 million last year. If the theory that money has a major influence on politics is correct, she could just buy the entire 2012 presidential election for whomever she happens to favor.
One effect of our campaign finance laws has been to exclude the well-off from independently influencing politics. The wealthy can no longer marshall a few dozen of their country club friends to make tens of thousands of dollars in donations directly to candidates. They cap out at quite low levels. Instead, they are forced to dilute their influence by donating to PACs and Super PACs, which are run by professional political operatives.
The super-wealthy, of course, get to just start their own Super Pacs funded with millions, preserving their influence. It's a triumph of the 0.01 percent over the 1 percent.
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