Broadcast Dues

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No question that one element driving escalating campaign costs is the huge cost of buying TV ad time. St. Louis Today explores provisions in the Fair Elections Now Act which would mediate that cost, allowing candidates to get their message out without spending half their day raising money to run ads.


A series of provisions in the bill would tax broadcasters to fund television vouchers and discounted airtime for publicly financed candidates. It's unrealistic to suppose congressional candidates can successfully seek office without access to advertising -- but consider a race between two publicly financed candidates: the contest between them is not who can raise the most money to run the most ads (since they both get the same amount), but who is the most effective candidate in all the forums of the campaign. Might help to raise the level of debate beyond 30-second ad spots and sloganeering.