Home > Media, Politics > What All Those Political TV Ads Could Have Bought

What All Those Political TV Ads Could Have Bought

I suppose the nation’s radio and television stations are quite happy with all the campaign cash that’s been spent with them this year, but when you consider their effectiveness- wow- what a colossal waste of cash.

I read about a study the other day that found that when a political partisan sees a negative TV ad that attacks their candidate, instead of changing minds, the commercials tend to strengthen their support for their guy.   And since undecided voters number about 3% of the population that basically means you are throwing away billions on the 97% you not only didn’t convince- but whose resolve to despise your candidate, you likely strengthened.

So…let’s break out the calculator, shall we?  According to non-partisan research group, Center for Responsive Politics, $700 million were spent in 2008 on federal elections.  This year?  After the Citizen’s United Ruling that allows anybody to spend as much as they want with no limits- federal elections will eat up $6 billion.  That’s the total spent by the campaigns themselves, the political parties and all those new limitless Super Pacs.

So what does 6 billion buy you these days?

– You could have paid about a third of all the property damage inflicted by Superstorm, Sandy.

– You could have fed 7.5 million American families for a month.

– You could have put 120 thousand people to work making 50 grand a year.

– You could have bought 300 thousand people a $20 thousand car.

– You could have purchased more than 1.5 billion gallons of gas.

– You could have bought schools 6 million, thousand-dollar lap tops.

– Instead of making people ill with your political ads you could have just bought them 1.7 million top-of-the-line Samsung 60-inch, HD flat screen TV’s.

But, no.  Instead, we have spent billions on TV commercials with grainy, black and white footage of politicians, punctuated by ominous background music as golden-throated announcers try to scare the crap out of us with doomsday scenarios of the horrible things that will happen to us the day the other guy gets elected.

Just three more days of this, folks.

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