I wonder how much the election process stimulates the economy. Sure it would be temporary, but it could amount to something. I hear that Billions are being spent by PACs. If the amount of campaign related mail is an indicator, I would say that printing companies have to hire extra staff just to keep up. Sure it is temporary staff, but it should help with making Christmas a little merrier. And it’s bipartisan; both parties are trying to outspend each other. It is easier portray the other guy is a monster than to actually articulate what they will do once in office.
A lot of people complain that while on the campaign trail the President and members of Congress who are running for office are deserting their duties in pursuit of being reelected. I think this is a good thing. Unlike most workers in America, politicians at this level show an inverse scale of productivity vs. cost. A valued employee makes money for a company, but with these guys the more they work, the more it costs the tax payer. I believe that this could be described as a hidden stimulus.
There may be another hidden stimulus at work. There is only so much time in a broadcast day, so every time a cable network plays a political advertisement a commercial customer saves ad dollars. This money could be used to reinvest in their company, maybe hire some more temp workers. From what I hear of political ads on radio, (I don’t watch TV) if I was an advertising executive I would just have my staff take off October once every four years. “Just go home guys; we can’t compete with this election crap”.
Also think of all the overtime that the media generates during this time of year. Think of all the people in the news office, checking facts, updating webpages, and digging into the personal lives of candidates. Some people actually get paid to blog.
The down side to this stimulus is the irritation factor. Regular commercials and ads are bad enough, but political ads feel like nails on a chalk board. My ears actually hurt after my drive home. Not from the ads, but from my attempt to batter the bullshit out of my ears after each commercial. My index finger hurts from changing the station every thirty seconds or so in a vain search for music or talk.
I personally can’t wait for the election to be over. I imagine that I will feel a huge sense of relief no matter what the outcome. I imagine that the relief will feel about the same as when you leave a loud concert and your ears un-cringe. There will still be a bit of ringing, but eventually the silence will return.