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With $500 million — what Mike Bloomberg’s now-defunct presidential campaign spent on ads alone — the former New York City mayor could have paid off a lot of people’s student debt or given all his employees a hefty bonus. Had he been feeling less magnanimous, he could’ve bought himself quite a few private islands.
The billionaire didn’t skimp on his 2020 campaign. Bloomberg, who self-identifies as “The Boss,” spent more money on advertising alone than any other candidate in history. Just weeks before Super Tuesday, he spent half a million dollars on Facebook ads across 11 states. He also opened some 200 offices across the U.S. and hired thousands of very well-paid employees (although some of them were just in it for the cash).
All in all, Bloomberg spent just .8% of his net worth on his campaign. And all he got was a win in American Samoa and a measly 50 delegates. He would’ve needed 1,991 to clinch the nomination.
Now that his bid is over, here’s a look at what else the Democratic candidate could’ve bought with the money on something other than what amounted to little more than a very expensive Joe Biden endorsement.
It’s no secret Bloomberg loves Cheez-Its. So much so that he has the cheese snack crackers all around the Bloomberg LP headquarters. With the money he spent on ads, he could have bought himself more than 110 million family-size 21-ounce boxes.
A *very nice* bonus to all Bloomberg LP employees
Bloomberg’s company, headquartered in New York City, has almost 20,000 employees around the world, in places as disparate as London and Singapore. He could have given all his employees a $25,000 bonus.
Instead he spent money on this:
Your student debt
With all the money he spent on advertising, Bloomberg could’ve paid off the student loan debt for about 30,000 Americans. The median debt for people who took out student loans is about $17,000, according to the Pew Research Center.
The Bloomberg campaign’s proposal to fix college affordability had a price tag of only $700 million — not all that much more than what Bloomberg spent on ads in two and a half months.
A private Spanish tutor
Hiring a Spanish tutor comes out to about $400 per week. Bloomberg could have paid for a whole month of Spanish classes for about 312,500 Americans, or 312,499, to be exact. A tutor might also benefit "El Bloombito" himself, considering his mixed attempts at Spanish on the campaign trail.
Americans who applied for mortgages in January 2017 were asking, on average, for a $309,200 loan, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. With the cash he spent on ads, Bloomberg could have paid off about 1,600 mortgages.
New Yorkers’ monthly unlimited MTA passes for a year
The MTA, North America’s largest public transportation network, provides service 24/7 and averages a ridership of 8.6 million on a weekly basis. The cost of a monthly unlimited ride MetroCard is $127. He could have bought monthly passes for a whole year for more than 328,000 New Yorkers.
A lifetime of menstrual products
Women spend, on average, $6,360 on menstrual products over the course of their lives. Bloomberg could have bought a lifetime supply of tampons or pads for about 79,000 women.
In the lead-up to the 2018 midterms, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats spent as much on Congressional races as Bloomberg did on his own failed campaign.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, together, spent just shy of $450 million on the midterm races. The Republican Party spent $350 million.
Perhaps in an effort to assuage his conscience, the former New York City mayor has said that he will continue to spend on down-ballot races through the 2020 election.
One year's worth of insulin for nearly 87,000 diabetics
Bloomberg’s campaign slammed President Trump for failing to lower the cost of prescription drugs — and for allowing the cost of insulin to skyrocket.
With the average type 1 diabetic spent $5,705 on insulin in 2016, however, Mike could’ve just bought 87,000 diabetics a years’ supply of insulin with the cash he spent on his campaign.
The island Fyre Festival was supposed to be on, 42 times
Fyre, the infamous music festival that fucked up a weekend for thousands of rich people, has at least two things in common with Bloomberg’s presidential bid: It was extremely expensive and it was a total flop.
The ridiculous promo video that Fyre’s promoters, Billy McFarland and Ja Rule, used to sell the festival on social media, which featured pigs at the beach, wasn’t shot on the island where the festival was eventually held. But Saddleback Cay, the pristine island that sold the idea of Fyre, went up for sale for $11.8 million.
Bloomberg could have had a nice time with some beach pigs, on any of the 42 private islands he could’ve bought with $500 million, if only he'd decided not to run.
Cover: Photo by: KGC-254/STAR MAX/IPx 2020 3/4/20 Michael Bloomberg drops out of 2020 presidential race. STAR MAX File Photo: 6/26/19 Michael Bloomberg at the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party held at Hyde Park in London, England.