Thursday, September 23, 2004

Politics, It's Good For The Economy

Sometimes when you take a look at the vast sums of money spent on just the presidential campaign it boggles the mind. The campaign industry in presidential years becomes a sort of economy unto itself. It could be said that having an American presidential election is good for the economy.

Or maybe not having presidential elections every year is bad for the economy. Hey, there's a strange issue to run on for a presidential candidate. "Let's have presidential elections every year, it's good for the economy!"

Of course we should look at what part of the economy it helps. The biggest beneficiaries of election campaigns is the media. Most of the money is spent on political commercials and for those of you that live in battleground states, you might be saying "amen" to that. Or maybe what you are actually saying is "where's the remote" for the umpteenth time.

So our media loves presidential campaigns, those commercials bring in plenty of profits. It's no wonder we've seen so many political pundits this past year. All the back and forth rap only promotes the interest of political junkies and the campaign commercials seek them out. So if you work in the media, presidential campaigns are a boon to your industry.

Who else benefits? Balloon makers are probably having a good year. Just the amount of balloons needed at the two political conventions must produce huge orders. How about bumper stickers, political buttons and yard signs? We've seen alot of those in the past year.

The publishing industry has seen a flurry of political books from both the right and the left. As I'm a book reader I can't feel bad about that. A good dose of best sellers allow for the less popular but usually better books to get printed. I wonder which candidate the book publishers wish would win based on which candidate will cause more opposition books to be written?

Of course there are hidden costs to campaigns. Most people don't realize how many tax dollars are spent at the local level when a candidate appears in the community. Extra police protection and beautification efforts cost local communities needed dollars. But on the other hand local businesses usually benefit from sales of balloons, buttons and banners, increased business at restaurants and other local stores.

I wonder if any economists have ever done research on the following year after presidential elections. Just using loose logic I'm betting that there must be some type of shift down of the economy. All in all, maybe we should change presidents every year, it's good for the economy!


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