It’s hard to wrap your mind around how much money Bloomberg could spend on his campaign

Let’s just start, for the sake of argument, with the signs you see in the picture above.

Those are two-color signs, yellow and dark blue — not terribly expensive. The printing that goes to the edge, full-bleed in the parlance, makes them a little pricier. Buy them in bulk, though, and the price drops.

At the site the Blue Deal, you can get 5,000 of those signs for about $1 apiece. That includes printing on both sides and the union bug, that little imprint indicating that the sign was printed by unionized workers. In other words, if there were 1,000 people at the Bloomberg rally, it would have cost about $1,000 to give each attendee a sign.

Or, working the math the other way, if Bloomberg wanted to spend every penny of his personal fortune on similar signs — some $62.8 billion, according to Forbes — he could afford to provide signs to 61.5 billion people.

Eight signs for every person in the world.

Let’s say that he doesn’t want to spend every penny on signs. Maybe just a subset of it. Maybe let’s assume he wants to come out of his campaign just as wealthy as he went in. The good news for Bloomberg is that, according to Forbes, his net worth when he got into the race was only (“only”) $54.1 billion. In other words, he could spend $8.7 billion on signs — getting 8.5 billion of them for his money — and still be as rich as he was on the day he announced.

How did his wealth increase that much since last November? In large part because money makes money. His fortune is so massive that he can, say, loan money to banks and get paid for the privilege.

But consider what that figure (which is admittedly just an estimate) actually means. Bloomberg has seen his net worth increase by more than $107 million every day since he’s been running for office.

Former vice president Joe Biden raised about $60 million in total in 2019. Meaning that in the first 14 hours of his campaign, Bloomberg had already gained more net worth to spend on his presidential bid than all of Biden’s glad-handing and events yielded him over the seven-plus months that he was running for president.

In fact, Bloomberg’s net worth increased more in the first five and a half days of his campaign than all of the remaining Democratic candidates raised in 2019 combined — including the $200-plus million that businessman Tom Steyer gave his own campaign. Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) giant $25 million haul in January? Less than Bloomberg made while he was sleeping on any given night.

The exact composition of Bloomberg’s fortune isn’t entirely clear. But it differs from President Trump’s in two ways. The first is scale; Bloomberg is probably worth more than 20 times what Trump is. Plus, it’s probable that less of his money is tied up in real estate. Trump is worth a lot of money, but it’s a lot harder to convert a building worth hundreds of millions of dollars into lawn signs than it is, say, stock.

You’ve probably heard the stories about the Bloomberg campaign’s profligate spending, about how staff who come to work for him get new iPhone 11s and MacBook Pros on their first day on the job. That’s extravagant for a regular person and extravagant for a political campaign. But if you’re worth $62.8 billion, you can lay out the $4,000 that the laptop and phone cost 15.7 million times over. Bloomberg’s daily net worth rose enough each day on average that he could buy about 27,000 sets of phones and computers and still come out even on the day.

Bloomberg spent over $10 million on a one-minute Super Bowl ad this month. That was 1/11th of the amount his wealth increased on the day of the Super Bowl. He could have run 870 spots at that cost just using the wealth he’s accrued since he started running for president. If he had aimed more modestly, buying, say, a national 30-second spot on a popular network television show — which runs about $300,000 — he could do so 358 times daily and end up where he started at the beginning of the day. In other words, he could buy three hours of ads on the most popular shows on television every day for the amount his wealth increased in an average 24-hour period since he started running.

What Bloomberg’s Super Bowl ad would cost you on your budget

These are the expensive accoutrements of a campaign, the things that campaigns struggling to scrape together as many $50 contributions as possible need to be judicious about spending money on. The things that are easier for those poorer campaigns to justify — lawn signs, T-shirts — could pile into Bloomberg’s office in mountains.

With the $107 million his wealth increased each day of the campaign, Bloomberg’s team could buy:

Heck, Bloomberg could buy 7,600 Chevy Sparks a day for his team to drive around, each day. He could buy 4.5 million of the cars as giveaways to voters, if he wanted to spend his whole fortune.

As for storing those millions of signs and shirts, Bloomberg can fairly easily score the necessary office space. Picking a random listing from Lower Manhattan (not the cheapest place in the country), he could get nearly 56,000 square feet at 65 Broadway for about $7,200 a day. He could afford nearly 15,000 similarly massive offices for the amount his wealth has increased daily.

If he really wanted to reach out to America, he could buy 2.4 billion 90-second robocalls each day. If he spent his whole fortune, he could send the equivalent of 4 million years of robocalls to America. He could send a 3.5-hour message to every possible phone number in the United States.

To make a truly memorable splash, he could go the same route Trump did when the president launched his own campaign in 2015. That event, at Trump Tower, was attended by a few dozen actors who were reportedly paid $50 apiece to show up.

If Bloomberg spent just the amount his personal wealth has increased since he announced his candidacy, he could have had 174 million people attend his campaign launch — or about 54 percent of the country.

Instead, it seems, he’s just hired hundreds of employees at substantially higher wages, and his McDuckian bank accounts probably don’t even notice. It’s a whole new scale of spending, one that none of his competitors — including the president, should it come to that — can possibly match.

The post It’s hard to wrap your mind around how much money Bloomberg could spend on his campaign appeared first on Washington Post.

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