The cost of electing the next US president is not much less than the first step to rescuing a bankrupt nation.
Iceland, with a population of 320,000, will get $833 million immediately if the International Monetary Fund executive board approves a $2.1 billion two-year loan to Iceland on November 5.
Barack Obama is likely to be elected US president on November 4 after an election campaign in which he raised $640 million.
While $280 million was raised through small donations of up to $200, $186.8 million was raised through donations of at least $2,000, according to the Federal Election Commission.
- Obama spent more on advertising — $280 million – than John McCain managed to raise in his entire campaign: $251 million, reports the New York Times.
- Obama spent more than the combined total spent by President Bush and Senator John Kerry in 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records, the New York Times adds.
And with the election only three days away, Obama’s website is still soliciting donations. “Donate now,” says a button near the top of the page.
Click on the button and it leads to the transaction form. The donor is asked to check the box confirming that he or she is a US citizen or a lawfully admitted permanent resident and at last 16 years old, but no verification is asked for.
It’s interesting that Obama – who wants to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011 and “make sure that full-time workers can earn a living wage” – has spent more hiring temporary workers than McCain, who has a more free-market philosophy.
The New York Times reports:
The Obama campaign has increased its ranks beyond salaried employees who receive regular paychecks and benefits by enlisting hundreds of local per diem workers for get-out-the-vote efforts. The Obama campaign has made $3.2 million in per diem payments, many no more than a few hundred dollars and most often made for brief periods during the Democratic primaries. The McCain campaign has reported relatively few per diem expenditures.
The New York Times, which endorsed Obama, mentions this as an example of his frugality.
Obama will be elected entirely with money from the people since, unlike McCain, he did not accept federal funding, which would have imposed spending limits.
So people will be getting what they paid for.
Here is a list of top donors for Obama and McCain, according to OpenSecrets. Note that Obama’s top contributors include five universities – University of Calfornia, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Chicago – Microsoft, Google and IBM and the media group Time Warner as well as banks, law firms and government employees. McCain’s top contributors are drawn from banks, law firms, business and government departments.