With Mitt Romney's recent $10,000 wager with Rick Perry over his position on health care, if it wasn't already, it is so apparent that the vast canyon between the haves and have-nots in America is getting way out of hand, particularly between those in federal politics and those who live on Main Street. Just in case you missed the moment in the December 10th debate, here it is in all of its glory:
In light of Mr. Romney's bet that is roughly 20 percent of an average American household income for a year, I thought it was time to take a look at the finances for the major Republican primary presidential candidates by looking at how much they have raised and how much they have spent in their search for the ultimate aphrodisiac; power. I will provide this data in alphabetical order by surname and then summarize it on a chart in order of their disbursements (what they have spent so far on their campaigns) from least spent to greatest. Please note that the data on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) website is current to September 30th, 2011.
First on the list, Michele Bachmann:
Second on the list, Herman Cain:
Third on the list, Newt Gingerich:
Fourth on the list, Jon Huntsman:
Fifth on the list, Ron Paul:
Sixth on the list, Rick Perry:
Seventh on the list, Mitt Romney:
And, last but not least, Rick Santorum:
Just for fun, here's the latest summary report for Barak Obama (and all I can say is "holy cr*p"):
If you click on the link associated with the names listed above, you will be taken to the candidate's summary page on the FEC website. From there, you can click on the Individual Donations link and see how many people have donated to the "cause", how much they donated, where they are from and their employer/occupation. That is where I have sourced the number of donors data in the following summary chart which, again, is in order of lowest disbursements to greatest:
It is rather shocking to see that Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney have each spent in excess of $10 million just for the chance to get their names on the November 2012 ballot with Ron Paul not far behind at just over $9 million. Mr. Romney's total expenditure of nearly $18 million shows Americans that he wants the job of Republican candidate really, really badly. Most importantly, if you look at the totals (except for perhaps Mr. Santorum's), you'll notice that each of the candidates have spent more on their campaigns to maybe run for President than most American households make in a lifetime. That puts things into perspective, doesn't it?
I have also used the FEC data to calculate the size of the average individual donation for each candidate and have plotted the results on this graph:
Ron Paul has the lowest overall per donor contribution of $1083 with Michele Bachmann coming in well above the rest of the pack at $2204 per donor, double Mr. Paul's average haul. I don't know about you, but I certainly can't imagine that many Americans have the kind of cash lying around that could fund what is really a Presidential long-shot to the tune of $2200. If you are trying to curry favour with the future leader of the United States and household funds were finite, perhaps one would be best to fund the winner of the Republican primary race. That way, you have some chance of gaining the President's ear. From what we see in the FEC records, these candidates are definitely not raising their campaign funds with "mom and pop's ten dollar donation"; their donors certainly appear to be among the top of America's social hierarchy. If you want to run for President of the United States and you aren't particularly wealthy, apparently it's very important to ingratiate yourself to Americans who are wealthy and who just happen to have a couple of thousand dollars lying around collecting dust.
It's also interesting to see how much debt some of these candidates have taken on; Jon Huntsman leads the pack with a debt of $3.1 million followed by Newt Gingerich at $1.2 million. Apparently, both of these gentlemen want the candidacy as badly as Mr. Romney.
From all of this data, one can quite quickly see that American federal politics is a game for big players with big dollars and big egos to match. It is a game that is only playable by those who rose to the top of the one percenters, all others need not (or cannot) apply. It's no wonder that they just cannot relate to Main Street no matter how much they try or how often they pretend that they "get us". Perhaps that also explains why Mitt Romney was so cavalier with his $10,000 bet, for him, it's just chump change. Chump change that would provide nearly 3 months salary for an average American household.