In reality, campaign expenditures are surprisingly small given how much power and influence is up for grabs. The money spent on this year’s midterm elections is less than 0.1% of the nearly $4 trillion in federal spending—one dollar in campaign spending, in other words, for every thousand dollars in federal expenditure.

By comparison, a single private company, Procter & Gamble , spent nearly a third more on advertising in 2013—$4.9 billion—than all political campaigns combined for federal offices spent in the current two-year election cycle. General Motors came closer to spending as much, with $3.1 billion.

As government spending and involvement in our daily lives has increased, it is only natural that people will want to spend more money to influence the selection of who wields that power. Growing campaign spending is a symptom, not the cause, of what ails our democracy.