Blogs > Cliopatria > what it takes costs

Aug 15, 2005 9:34 am

what it takes costs

Two points noted in catching up on summer periodicals.

(1) Grover Norquist calls out George Soros for going shopping in a market he didn't adequately research:

The one thing that surprised Norquist about Soros's appearance ... was the revelation that Soros had spent only twenty-seven million dollars during last year's election."That is so goofy," Norquist said."The guy is worth, what, seven billion dollars, and he tried to buy the Presidency on the cheap. He should have been in for two and a half billion dollars, for crying out loud. Twenty-seven million dollars -- that should have been ante money. What were they thinking?"

(From John Cassidy,"The Ringleader," The New Yorker August 1, 2005, 42-53, p. 50.)

Do historians pay enough attention to how much money comes from whom in Presidential elections?

(2) On an unrelated point in the same article, I'm pretty sure Tony Perkins would have prayed that every"lying tongue," not every"lion tongue," be cast down. (p. 49) But I await correction from Biblical cognoscenti among the readership.

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Glen Raphael - 8/26/2005

Assuming continued economic growth and inflation, Eventually just about everybody in the future will be worth that much. The hard part for future historians will be figuring out how people lived on less than that.

Relative to the size of the economy or what government spends, Soros is barely getting by. Titans of industry a century ago were a lot richer than he.

Glen Raphael - 8/26/2005

Steve Levitt (author of Freakonomics) claims the corellation between campaign spending and winning mostly goes the other way around: good candidates who are likely to win /anyway/ find it easy to raise lots of money, but no amount of spending can save a bad candidate.

The relevant journal article is "Using Repeat Challengers to Estimate the Effect of Campaign Spending on Election Outcomes in the U.S. House." [Journal of Political Economy, 1994, 102(4), pp. 777-98]. pdf is here.

Eric Rauchway - 8/16/2005

Ah, but the estate tax wouldn't prevent Soros accruing wealth, just passing it on after passing on.

And anyway, I'm not sure I buy that it's inherently corrupt for one man to get that rich. That he should then buy disproportionate political influence, available only to the very rich, maybe; but is that more corrupt than, say, a hundred people pooling resources to buy disproportionate political influence?

Rick Shenkman - 8/15/2005


Reading your post I couldn't help but think that future historians are not going to know what to make of a society with such corrupted values that one man was said to be worth seven or more billion dollars.

And the Republicans want to junk the Estate Tax?

Are they kidding?