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Candidates Enjoy the Season of Receiving

I'd like to give everyone a present today - or actually, just ask you to give yourself a present. I'll get to that in a minute.

According to the Stamford, Conn. Based research and consulting firm, PQ Media, political campaigns will likely spend more than 4 and a half BILLION dollars in the 2008 election season. That's a 64% increase over 2004 election cycle spending.

And there are only 11 gubernatorial contests slated for 2008. There were 36 in 2006, but historically, it's the election years with presidential races that set the spending records and the 2008 contest will be the first election since 1928 without a current member of the executive branch running for office which has resulted in an unusually high number of candidates throwing their hats into the ring.

The presidential race is expected to command the largest share of the spending at 37%, or $1.67 billion

Ohio does not have an early primary, but its residents have already donated $1.5 million to presidential candidates. Rudy Guilliani was in Youngstown last month for an hour and raised 75-grand.

Analysts are saying that fund raising records are being set already and there's this - a number of the presidential candidates have decided to forgo federal matching funds, which would require them to accept spending limits so that means that, at least for the race for the White House, campaign spending is going to go through the roof.

These same analysts are assuming that the campaigns for the Democratic and Republican nominations for president will pretty much be a done deal by February but spending could get even crazier depending who wins those party nominations. And on top of that, an independent presidential contender could show up with a bunch of money and completely change the projections.

Money. Big money. Where's it come from? Tens of thousands of individuals contribute because, well, they agree with a candidate's ideas and think that he, or she, would make the best president and then of course there are special interest groups, unions, associations, Political Action committees, corporations. They all contribute.

Now if you think these groups and businesses are spending umm contributing their money because they think a candidate will be the best president for all of America, one nation under God, well, think again.

Maybe one of the wealthiest people in America, Warren Buffett, said it best. He said, corporations think they are getting their money's worth or they wouldn't be writing checks. You can safely substitute special interest groups, unions, associations or Political Action Committees for corporations in that comment.

What is their moneys worth? If you get a chance Google - Enron, Johnny Chung or that former pharmaceutical executive, Charles Heimbold that was appointed ambassador to Sweden. Any of those stories will help to enlighten you on getting your money's worth.

Oh yeah - The present that I wanted to you to give yourself is campaign finance reform on a personal level. Reform campaign financing by not contributing any of your hard earned money. There's going to be plenty of money being spent and yours will never be missed. A little extra dough in your pocket, or dropped into the in the bell ringer's little red kettle isn't the worst thing that could happen. And think about it - sometimes the best way to be heard is by not saying anything at all. Happy Holidays.