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Samantha Felix Samantha Felix

Americans Spend 16 Times More on Beer Than Midterm Elections

Despite concerns about political spending, Americans actually spend way more on gambling, booze and hair care than politics. Also, dry cleaning bills.

4 Substance

There have been some justifiable concerns about the relationship between money and politics in this country. A total of $3.67 billion was spent by the campaigns of this year’s federal Senate and House candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, making this one of the most expensive midterm races ever.

Many people worry that special interests can basically pick a candidate and then buy the election. Others complain that those billions of dollars are basically wasted because campaign ads have little effect.

But America’s political spending habits pale in comparison to our booze, gambling and hair care habits (see graph below). Three-and-a-half billion dollars is small change next to the $59.9 billon Americans spent on beer in 2013, $88.4 billion on gambling, and $63 billion spent on going to the hair-dresser. Even our dry cleaning bills—$11.7 billion—outweigh political spending.

So do we have our priorities straight or what? You be the judge.

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