What does $6 billion buy?

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

The financial results are now in from the recent 2012 federal election. We've just participated in the most expensive election in U.S. history. Over $6 billion was spent by federal campaigns, super PACs, political nonprofits and the party committees.

Here is the split out of how the money was spent according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Presidential Candidates.... $1,377,000,000

House Candidates............. $1,010,000,000

Senate Candidates............ $720,000,000

Party Committees............... $1,800,000,000

Outside Groups................... $1,210,000,000

What troubles me is how so much money can be spent competing for these prized positions and yet once in office so little of the people’s business ever seems to be accomplished. Because of our early production deadlines for the New Years holiday I’m drafting this column five days before we are scheduled to go over the fiscal cliff. I can only hope that when you read this column the cliff has been somehow avoided, be it a last minute agreement or perhaps they get it done with a few hours to spare. Unfortunately I’m not optimistic they will get a deal done. They know what needs to be done but neither side is willing to give any ground and it appears both think the cliff will provide them cover from their constituents.

Prior to the Christmas holiday congressional Republicans were calling out the President and Democratically controlled Senate for not putting forth a plan to avoid the cliff. Now that the President has returned from Hawaii and the US Senate has been reconvened by Sen. Harry Reid they are dishing it back out to the Republicans who will not return until the weekend.

Wouldn’t you think these masterful campaigners who’ve raised so much money and command so much power could do more than play childish games trying to show each other up and some how in their self centered approach think that we buy these foolish antics? Well, the sad reality is most of us fall into lock step behind our party affiliation. We let them play these games instead of demanding greater accountability.

Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and owner and publisher of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@newmarketpressvt.com or dan@denpubs.com..

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