Seems like every handful of years, somebody starts yammering about how much money candidates spend to get elected. About how that spending is going up and up and up. And they claim that that's a sure sign of corruption.
Not likely. Look instead at the ratio of federal spending versus spending by presidential candidates over several decades:
See how the ratio varies between
1 and 20.5 and 2.5? That's because candidates
spend in proportion to the power they'll have. If you want them to spend
less, expect them to do less and spend less of your own money.
UPDATE 2/8/2010: Sam Nelson of clevernamehere.com fame (which would let you guess his email address) noticed that I was plotting the wrong column from the DebtArticle.csv dataset. I've re-generated the plot, and included 2008 spending (which is for a partial year, so in your head, move the rightmost point lower). The graph is a little more noisy, but still serves to make my point.