Presidential and congressional candidates and campaigns are on track to spend more in 2016 than any other election cycle in American history — about $6.9 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
That may seem like a lot of money, but it translates to only $53.45 per voter, if Tuesday’s turnout is akin to the 2012 presidential race when 129.1 million Americans cast their ballots. Also, $6.9 billion would only fund the federal government for 15.5 hours, considering federal outlays were $3.9 trillion for fiscal year 2016.
As liberals push for stricter campaign finance laws, and 84 percent of Americans claim money has too much influence in politics, according to a May New York Times/CBS poll, the average American spends far more on coffee in a month ($80) than federal campaigns spend trying to get their vote. (RELATED: Trump: ‘I Love The Idea Of Campaign Finance Reform’)
Here are five things Americans spend money on that cost more than $6.9 billion total, or $53.45 per person:
2. Lottery tickets
Americans spent $70 billion on lottery tickets in 2014, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. That works out to $217.80 per person, considering the U.S. population was 321.4 million, according to 2015 Census Bureau estimates.
2. Pet food
Americans spent $23 billion on pet food in 2015, or $71.56 per person, according to the American Pet Products Association. Americans almost spent as much grooming and boarding their pets – $5.3 million — as the nation spent on this year’s election.
3. Dining out
The average American spent more than $3,000 dining out in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s about 56 times as much as per-voter spending.
Americans spent more than $7 billion on engagement rings in 2012, the most recently available figures, according to an Emory University Department of Economics study.
The National Retail Federation expected Americans to spend $8.4 billion on Halloween this year, including candy, costumes and decorations.
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