Tim Taylor summarizes the data from the Center for Responsive Politics:
Total spending for the 2014 Congressional races looks like it will come in at about $4 billion, quite similar to the amount spent in 2012 and 2010. In the context of a high-income country with a population of nearly 320 million, this is not a large amount. As I point out in my Principles of Economics textbook (which I naturally recommend for its combination of high quality and moderate price), “For example, consumers in the U.S. economy spend about $2 billion per year on toothpaste. In 2012, Procter and Gamble spent $4.8 billion on advertising, and General Motors spent $3.1 billion. Americans spend about $22 billion per year on pet food—three times as much as was spent on the 2012 election.” As another comparison, Americans spend about $8 billion each year celebrating Halloween. With the US government making decisions that involve $3.5-$4 trillion in spending and taxes, not to mention the nonmonetary effects of other laws regulatory rulings, people are going to allocate resources to try to affect those outcomes.
I recommend clicking through to some of the charts. On the snarky side, you may want to focus on this one:
As the list shows, these biggest organizational donors tend to lean to the Democrats. Koch Industries, which seems to get considerable public attention, is 17th in these rankings.
I wonder if the kids who crashed the ASSA meeetings condemned the non-Mankiws of the wold? Did they scream at Picketty for taking money from Big Left donors? Of course, I am not asking for equal treatment, I happen to not think Picketty or Krugman or people of the left take money from evil interests and then research and write according to their puppet masters. If anything, the arrow goes in the other direction. In any case, there is lots of interesting data in the post.
For those of you who like supply and demand and basic economics – does the lack of dollars in American politics give you reason to be happy, sad or otherwise?