August 29, 2011

Correlation between campaign spending and national debt

Dan Glickman of the Bipartisan Policy Center has an interesting Op-Ed in Politico today comparing campaign spending to the national debt.

Glickman writes:
The national debt in 1980 was $907 billion ($2.55 trillion in 2010 dollars) — or 32.7 percent of gross domestic product. By 2010, the debt had increased to $13.5 trillion, or 91.8 percent of GDP. So, as percentage of GDP, the debt nearly tripled in 30 years, increasing by 180.7 percent.

The increase over this period in campaign spending is uncannily similar. Congressional campaign spending in 1980 was $532 million. In 2010, it was almost three times greater, tripling at $1.497 billion (both figures in 2010 dollars). That means campaign spending in Congress increased by 181.3 percent.

Debt to GDP is up 181.3 percent since 1980. Congressional campaign spending is up 180.7 percent over the same period: A statistical correlation of 99.669 percent.
Since campaign spending isn't a form of government spending, it obviously isn't the cause of our skyrocketing national debt, but Glickman's comparison is still very eye-opening.