I can see both sides of the argument to be honest. On the one hand pissing away billions at a time of economic weakness is questionable. On the other, large voter turnouts help built a strong mandate to govern for the winning party.The estimated price tag for the US elections in November is almost $6bn (£3.8bn). Why so much?
"The sky is the limit here," says Michael Toner, former chair of the US Federal Election Commission.
"I don't think you can spend too much."
In a time of general belt-tightening, it may sound like a surprising argument, but Toner believes there should be more - not less - spending on US elections.
Anything that engages voters, and makes them more likely to turn out is, he says, a good thing.
Interestingly, the US cost doesn't appear to be as a result of being a larger more populous nation. Per capita it's more expensive than some other nations.
- US - $18 (£12) per person on federal elections in 2012 (projected)
- UK - 80 cents (50p) per person in 2010 general election
- Canada - $8 (£5) per person in 2011 general election
Air-time isn't cheap.
It's all good, it's stimulating the economy. In particular the bits that make TV advertising and placards...
(Not to mention the hair and makeup industry)
I somehow doubt that there is a connection between election investments and voter turnout.
The question should be:
How have the special interests managed to gain control of a $15 trillion dollar economy through two proxy parties for ONLY $6 billion?