The blitz of election-related commercials is finally over, and now that the dust has settled, we need to ask an important question: was all that brouhaha really worth billions of dollars that could have been poured into local economies instead? Why couldn’t we just have used all that money to buy everyone in the country life insurance instead?
The New York Times lists the top 40-odd donors up through November 6th, including how much they spent. Most of the list consists of Super PACs and special interest groups. Here is the number one on their list:
(1) Restore Our Future, a Super PAC that supported Mitt Romney
They spent a whopping $142,645,946 on the election, 90% of that money on attack ads. I look at that number, and I just think, Really? (Cue SNL’s “Really!?! with Seth & Amy”)
In a time when lots of people are out of work, hungry, unhealthy, and unhappy, this is the best use of money our country can come up with? $142 million on TV attack ads? There’s something fundamentally wrong with the way money is spent in this country.
The top 5 election campaign contributors (4 pro-Republican, 1 pro-Democrat) spent an un-freaking-believable $373,974,911. That’s more than a QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS.
If you add up all 45 donors on this NYT list, you get a total of $521,730,970. That’s more than HALF A BILLION DOLLARS. That’s about $3 for every person in the country (using the July 2011 census for a population count).
What if we used that HALF A BILLION DOLLARS to, I don’t know, invest in education and scholarships? To create a small new tax break for small businesses that hire new workers? To extend healthy child programs that offer free infant medical care? To pay for more police officers to patrol our streets and keep them safe? Just a thought. Instead of paying for ephemeral TV commercials that did nothing but bludgeon viewers senseless, maybe we could try to do something that actually buys goods and services for the people of our country.