How much would the Clean Elections Amendment cost?

We the peopleOne of the first questions that must be answered about full federal funding of elections is, “How much would this cost?”  Common Cause, Inc., a citizen’s advocacy group, has looked into that question, and this is what they said: (http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4773849)

“Public financing will likely result in a net savings of money by reducing the waste that results from inappropriate giveaways to big campaign contributors. It can also reduce waste by allowing elected officials to focus more on running government rather than raising money. This program will only cost about $4 per voting-age citizen per year. That’s approximately 1/25 of 1% of the Federal budget, a sum that will likely be saved many times over through cleaner and more efficient government. For example, congressional “pork barrel project” earmarks have averaged over $20 billion per year for the last four years.  Approximately $70 billion to $100 billion in tax revenue is lost each year through the use of offshore tax schemes and loopholes that could be closed by Congress.  The bill for a Fair Elections system is estimated at $1 billion per year, a fraction of those totals and a bargain for accountable, responsible government.”

I believe the estimate Common Cause came up with for election funding may be a bit low, after all, in the 2012 elections, over $6 billion was spent in the congressional and presidential campaigns combined.   (http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/)  But even if we funded every race at that same bloated level, that’s still just a drop in the bucket, compared to how much taxpayer money our elected officials give away to corporations and billionaires every year.

And when you add the other benefits, such as removing the burden of non-stop fundraising from our elected officials, keeping our representatives accountable to us instead of their corporate masters, and making public office accessible to a person of average means, the Clean Elections Amendment makes perfect sense!  Don’t vote for ANY CANDIDATE this year unless they endorse the Clean Elections Amendment!

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