Could That Money Have Been Put to Better Use
Over $8 billion was spent in 2020 on political ads, according to Newsweek, many of which were negative or attack ads. I don’t know about you, but I dislike those ads immensely. Every time I see one, I am disappointed that this is the best idea a highly paid group of adults can come up with for their marketing plan. It makes me wonder what impression this leaves on our younger generation.
Yeah, I know that various research shows negative ads work but so does cracking open a walnut with a sledgehammer. Just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done. I find it ironic that there are massive campaigns across the United States to battle bullying in our schools yet, this is exactly what these negative political ads are all about.
The ads partake in calling opponents names, telling half-truths and talking about the worst things they can dig up on their opponent. Why don’t these campaign ads focus on the candidate’s platform or beliefs? Why don’t the ads talk about how the candidate wants to change things for the better or help their constituents?
It makes me ill to think of all the money wasted on campaign ads in general. How about building community youth centers? How about purchasing the latest technology for schools that can’t afford it? What about contributing to the food banks around the country? Maybe training centers to teach new skills that translate into getting a job or a better job? Possibly fund family counseling centers? What about helping people that lost jobs or were forced to close their small business during the pandemic? I can go on and on about the endless options of how that money could be put to good use to change lives for the better.
To put it in perspective, here is how much $8 Billion could possibly buy:
- Youth Centers: An average cost to build one youth center is around $1,392,000, per RSMeans data. That means about 5747 youth centers could be built for our younger generations.
- K-12 school donations: Based on 2017/18 data, there are approximately 130,930 K-12 schools in the United States. That means each school could have received over $61,000.
- Food Banks: According to Food Bank News, there are 200 Feeding America food banks. Those 200 food banks get food out to an estimated 60,000 food pantries around the country. So, using the 60,000 number for my purposes, this breaks down to $133,333 per food pantry. Think that could feed a few people in need?
- Small business support: Estimates start at 100,000 for the number of small businesses that have already closed permanently in 2020 due to the lockdowns. The truth is, that number is probably much higher, as high as 200,000 as small businesses just tend to close up shop without officially reporting it to anyone or any agency. That being said, $40,000 could have been given to 200,000 small businesses to keep them open. Sadly, as many as 1 in 5 small businesses may permanently close due to the pandemic.
Millions of Americans have been financially devastated in 2020 by the pandemic. Yet, politicians and their financial backers are throwing billions at campaigns and ads instead of putting that money where it can make a lasting difference. It goes to show you how out of touch our leaders, corporations and one-percenters are with most Americans.
Do our leaders, who we vote for and who work for us, truly have any idea how to lead? Do they have any idea how most of American’s live day to day or are they completely out of touch? They are so busy trashing each other, fighting amongst themselves and using the American people as leverage, to see the massive swath of damage they are leaving behind. Actually, do they really even care about the irreparable damage they have done?
How did we get here? How did we get to the point where contributing billions of dollars to an ad campaign takes higher priority than taking care of each other? We can also speak with our money by deciding where to spend it and which corporations or organizations to support. Think carefully about who and what you want to support with your dollars. We, the people, have more power than one might think.