This New York Times story depresses the shit out of me:

President Obama and Mitt Romney are both on pace to raise more than $1 billion with their parties by Election Day, according to financial disclosures filed by the campaigns on Thursday.

From the beginning of 2011 through Oct. 17, Mr. Obama and the Democrats raised about $1.06 billion, and Mr. Romney and the Republicans collected $954 million, including some money for the party’s Congressional efforts, setting up 2012 to be the most expensive presidential campaign in history.

I know that when you're talking about the federal budget, a billion dollars is kind of insignificant. But still: It's impossible not to look at that figure of all the money that's been thrown around—two billion dollars!—and not think about all the amazing things that could have been done with it. These two men spent two billion dollars to fly all over the country and talk about the people who don't have jobs, the kids who don't have a quality education, the people who need food and shelter. You know what would have helped those people? Two billion fucking dollars.

UPDATE: Beloved Slog tipper Rob sent along this truly depressing factoid from NPR, too:

Goldstein figures that there are about 800,000 truly undecided voters in the battleground states; factor in a total of $1 billion in ads — and that means campaigns are spending about $1,000 per persuadable voter.