The title of this Note—“voodoo economics”—is, at its core, an analogy: U.S. campaign-finance regulation operates like a price ceiling in the political money marketplace. Political campaigns are financed through money-for-access transactions and campaign-finance regulation caps the level of exchange. Like any other price ceiling, regulation is both effective and flawed. It suppresses the “price” of political money but inherently falls victim to some market players’ avoidance activities. This price-ceiling analogy, among other things, makes apparent that many proposals forwarded by pro-regulation and deregulation advocates cannot solve the United States’ century-old campaign-finance riddle. Instead, attention should turn to shaping market forces through expanding the political money supply. Political donation incentive programs in Germany and Canada provide attractive supply-side models for reform in the United States.
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