What does $5.7 Billion buy these Days?

By Patricia L Johnson

$5.7 billion dollars is a staggering amount, especially when you take into consideration its buying power.

According to the Congressional Budget Office a full year of CHIP [Children’s Health Insurance Program] funding for the years 2016 through 2022 would cost U.S. taxpayers $5.7 billion dollars per fiscal year

A deficit reduction counter-offer made by House Speaker John Boehner back in December 2012 included raising the Medicare retirement age from 65 to 67. That change would amount to $5.7 billion dollars in spending cuts.

The VA budget for 2013 contains two items that add to a little less than $5.7 billion dollars as follows:

$3.3 billion to meet the needs of more than 610,000 veterans returning from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

$2.2 billion for improved benefits claims processing (increased staff, improved processes and IT enhancements).

Let’s throw in one more for good measure – funding for the CH-47 Chinook Helicopter will cost $5.7 billion for the period beginning FY2013 and ending FY2017. The Chinook is the heavy-lift helicopter used to transport cargo, troops and weapons.

As you can see, $5.7 billion is nothing to sneeze as when it comes to the good it can do for U.S. taxpayers.

The Federal Election Commission recently released the totals for the 2012 Election Cycle and once again the number $5.7 billion appears. This time as the total amount of receipts collected during the 2012 election cycle which began January 1, 2011 and ended September 30, 2012.

What is interesting to note is the split. The majority of funds $1.7 billion were donated to PACs, with $1.6 billion donated to Congressional candidates, $1.4 billion donated to Party Committees [RNC and DNC], and the smallest amount, $1.0 billion was donated to presidential candidates.

There were 129 million [129,067,662] votes cast in the 2012 election which means $44.64 was donated to the various campaigns for each and every vote cast in the election.

We learned a valuable lesson in 2012, we learned that money doesn’t buy votes so what will happen during the 2014 Congressional elections? Will major individual and corporate contributors remember that votes can’t be bought and donate their money towards worthy causes or will they continue to give credence to the Bible verse “…every fool will be meddling.”

Only time will tell.


© 2013 Patricia L Johnson

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