Time Essay: CAMPAIGN COSTS: FLOOR, NOT CEILING

IN an expansive mood, the mayor of Buffalo, N.Y., recently described himself as "the best mayor that money can buy." He was kidding, of course—but it was the kind of joke that many politicians today would make at their peril. Once such a line might have brought down the house, but nowadays it comes uncomfortably close to the truth—not about corruption, but about a far more costly phenomenon: campaign expenditures. The growing dominance of TV on every level of political salesmanship has raised campaign costs astronomically and convinced the public that politics...

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