If the US government wants to corral the budget and find another source of revenue, then I suggest that they look to campaign spending.
The Post reports that the presidential contenders raised a total of 2.21 billion (yeah, “B”illion) dollars. They didn’t spend quite all of it though (to the tune over half a billion dollars unspent).
Now, if we look at the US budget from 2012. There are two separate government departments/programs that were budgeted less than that. Also, “disaster costs” were considerably less than that (like two orders of magnitude less).
What really makes me mad is that the US presidents together raised 1/3 of the entire budget of the National Science Foundation. One third. How much research could be done with two billion dollars? I’ll also add the they also raised one third of the entire budget for the Civil Works department of the US Army Corps of Engineers.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, who has analyzed the Federal Election Commission data, the 2012 election will have cost about $6 billion.
That’s almost the entire yearly budget of the National Science Foundation (7.6 billion requested, 8 billion awarded). The yearly budget of the Army Corps of Engineers is 7.9 billion (requested) and 9.3 billion (awarded). NASA got 17.7 billion, this election will cost 1/3 of NASA’s entire yearly budget.
Really? This kind of money is just stunning. It’s also almost a full order of magnitude larger than the previous record campaign (2008).
Of course, none of this includes the “shadow money” that will never appear in anyone’s books. It’s not local elections (some of which have some surprisingly large budgets, for example, a billboard in a prime location can cost $20,000 a month).
It’s enough to give every man, woman, and child in the US $20.
My mind is having serious trouble comprehending the scale of waste in this (and previous) campaigns. And yes, the Obama Campaign out raised and out spent the Romney campaign, but the OUTSIDE party spending (these are the super PACs and others) for Romney was twice what is was for Obama. Of course, those PACs aren’t coordinating with the campaign or anything (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
The only word that I can come up with describe how I feel about this is “disgusting”.
A few more comparisons:
National Cancer Institute budget over the past 6 years: $4.9 billion per year.
Falcon 9 w/ Dragon spacecraft launch: $54 million
Large Hadron Collider build cost: $9 billion
Cost for the USS Ronald Reagan: $4.5 billion (not including aircraft)
2012-2013 budget for UT Austin: $2.34 billion