Monday, March 12, 2012
Money in elections a country comparison
According to the Center for Responsive politics a whopping 6 billion dollars will be spent by campaigns, political parties, and corporations in an attempt to elect their chosen candidate as the U.S. president. Those spending all that cash in these lean economic times must expect a good return on their investment.
The amount spent in the U.S. is larger than the sums spent in other countries. However, as TI (Transparency International) points out it is not just the amount but the source of funds that worry many citizens.
In the United Kingdom expenditure on electioneering is actually going down. Expenditures dropped 26 per cent from 2005 to 2010 elections. However the absence of limits for donations by individuals or corporations has helped erode public confidence. A TI spokesperson said:"When donors are making contributions exceeding £20,000 ($31,000) -- and some are making donations well over £250,000 ($390,000) -- it's perfectly understandable you don't give away that kind of money without expecting something in return," Late last year an advisory group recommended increased public funding as a way to make the influence of big donations less powerful in the electoral process. However funding political parties is no doubt not a priority for the public! All the main political parties rejected the idea.
Norway is a country where public funding is accepted. Almost three quarters of the income of parties comes from the public purse. In Norway political ads are banned from television and radio!
India has experienced a huge inflow of corporate money into politics. The Indian Electoral Commission believes that up to 2 billion dollars will be donated by corporations to influence the outcome in Uttar Pradash state elections. In India parties often buy votes with gifts and even cash. At least this means the political process is of some value to citizens!
The CNN article also considers the situation in Russia, Brazil and Nigeria. Brazil is interesting. According to TI about 2 billion dollars was spent by parties and candidates in the 2010 presidential election. Almost 98 per cent of funds for the winner's campaign came from corporations. Her opponent's funding was 95.5 per cent from corporations. In spite of the fact the winner was a former Marxist guerrilla corporations obviously bet slightly more on her. Brazil has great inequality of income and wealth.