We may have to agree to disagree. I'm not sure if using Star Wars really helped your cause, because they are enough plot wholes in that series to fly a Star Destroyer through. Episode IV was actually one of the better Star Wars movies (probably because Lucas hadn't gone really really crazy yet), and in and of itself (before the whole Star Wars universe was ludicrously constructed with it's midichlorians and non-jedi force-sensitives), it was pretty much internally consistent. After all, in that movie, for all we know Luke, Obi-Wan, and Vadar are the only Force-sensitives we know of.
As for the story, I have to say again that "expensive" doesn't imply "rare". After all, Ferrari F430's are pretty expensive, but you still see one of two of them just driving around. There are implications in the story itself that other candidates besides Tuscadero employ cloning tech, so at the very least, it's available to private citizens (presumably ones with lots of money). And this means that more powerful private individuals (e.g. Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoc, etc) most definitely would have access to cloning, to say nothing of other countries and multi-nationals. Imagine what a bored Saudi prince with a few extra $M lying around would buy himself for his birthday if he could clone anyone he wanted to. Or what intelligence agency would do if they could clone anyone (say a foreign diplomat with top secret access to information and computer systems). I don't expect the story to cover all of it in any great detail, but I simply think that plopping down Mayberry, USA, and saying "there's cloning, but everything else is exactly the same" is too much for me to swallow.
I don't expect you to agree with me, nor do I expect you to suddenly hate the story because of what I said. I actually found the characters fairly enjoyable, but the inconsistencies were too flagrant for me to get past.
BTW, I think Bruce Sterling's "Distraction" is a good book on a similar subject of politics in the future and genetic manipulation.http://www.amazon.com/Distraction-Bruce-Sterling/dp/0553576399