Is spending $1 billion on political ads a good use of money?
LA CROSSE, Wis. -- We've all seen them over and over again -- political ads.
It comes with the territory of an election season, and for some people, they've had enough.
“Way too much,” said Ken Miehl of Holmen.
“That's all that you see on TV and hear on the radio,” said Ellen Volkening of French Island.
“Like for instance, I saw six at one time and I was like, ‘Can we get a cookie commercial or Coca-Cola or something?'” asked Caspian Fischer of La Crosse.
For the 2012 presidential election, an estimated $1 billion will be spent to sway voters through political ads, but Fischer thinks the money could be put to better use.
“The money can be used for other causes such as AIDS research [and] cancer research,” said Fischer.
If $1 billion were to be put towards curing cancer, that could mean opening up hundreds or even thousands of new labs for cancer research like the ones at Gundersen Lutheran. That could lead to hundreds and thousands of new discoveries, and it could also mean cutting the time it takes to approve a new drug in half.
“It could be used to rebuild infrastructure that's been destroyed by the hurricane,” said Miehl.
Super Storm Sandy barreled through the East Coast earlier this week, flooding transit systems, knocking down trees and destroying thousands of homes.
Investing the money into recovery efforts would make a small dent in the estimated $10 billion to $20 billion in damages.
“I know that a million dollars or a billion dollars could take care a lot of the issues that the elderly have,” said Volkening.
The director of the La Crosse County Aging Unit, Noreen Holmes, said $1 billion dollars could go a long way -- for example, in helping people with Alzheimer’s disease under Medicare.
“So you could pay for half of the care for everyone in Wisconsin who has Alzheimer's disease for a whole year with that $1 billion dollars,” said Holmes.
While the uses for $1 billion vary from person to person, these people are just happy the end of the ads is coming.
“I'll be glad when it’s over on Tuesday,” said Miehl.
That is, until next election season.
In a list published by the Washington Post ranking 11 swing states in TV ad spending for the presidential race, Wisconsin is at the bottom with a total of $21 million. At the top is Florida with $136 million.
We also posted the question on our Facebook page. Here's what some of you had to say.
David said, "Spend it on the hurricane victims...they need it."
Mary said, "It is the biggest waste of dollars this country has seen. It would go a ways towards our debt issue."
Mike says, "This is not tax dollars....This is money that is donated for a specific purpose, who are we to say how it should be spent?"
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