You get what you pay for

Andrew Sullivan notes Jonathan Chait’s examination of campaign spending, by campaigns themselves and Superpacs. Chait discusses ad buys and associated rates, and cites that “Republicans are paying their staff twice the rate Democrats are paying theirs, allowing Obama to have twice as many people working for him for the same amount Romney is spending.”

That’s based on a report from the Los Angeles Times, which found:

[T]he Obama campaign had 901 people on its payroll last month, and paid them a median salary of $3,074 a month, or $36,886 a year. The Romney campaign, in contrast, had 403 people on its payroll, and paid them a median salary of $6,437 in August, which would mean $77,250 a year. A Romney campaign official said the median staff salary is actually $51,500 a year. The August payroll may have been inflated by back pay owed to new employees, the official said.

Even at $51,500 a year… that’s a decent monthly salary. The median salary for a public school teacher in Boston, Massachusetts, is $55,970, for example.

At $36,886 a year, the Obama campaign seems a little frugal. But the median salary for a community organizer in Chicago, Illinois, is about $36,000.

Maybe Romney staffers are much like public school teachers–often with too few resources, too little appreciation, and far too complex a job to do given the directives they receive from their administrations (i.e., Romney) and their students’ parents (i.e., potential voters). Maybe Romney is hoping his staff can fix what he seems to be having trouble doing himself.

Maybe Obama staffers are much like community organizers–who, like teachers, often work with too few resources, and like teachers, often work because of a calling to serve (i.e., confidence in Obama’s candidacy), acted on because of a true faith in the work (i.e., sharing that confidence with potential voters). Maybe Obama is trusting his staff to motivate others, much as he motivates them.

I’m sure I’m not being fair. Maybe, as Mr. Sullivan suggests, Romney simply isn’t as good a businessman as one might have expected.

What do you think?

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