Meg Whitman says she has no regrets about investing a record-breaking $141.5 million of her own cash to run for Governor of California. Throw in the $25 million in donations and Whitman’s campaign spent nearly $170 million on her gubernatorial bid—far more than any other political candidate this election cycle.
Stop to think about that number. What does $170 million dollars get you?
10. 850 round trip tickets to space on Virgin Galactic.
9. 6,956 Toyota Prii (or Priuses). Or 160 Ferraris, or 9 F-16 fighter jets, or…
8. Send California’s 2.2 million unemployed workers an extra $70 check for the holidays.
7. An estimated 3,914 California public school teachers’ first-year salaries. Or California’s estimated 30,000 teachers could get a $5,333.00 bonus this year.
6. The National Endowment for the Arts 2010 budget: $161.4 million. So she could have doubled the budget for the largest annual funder of the arts in the country.
5. Or could have paid for the top three most expensive Senate races in the country: Connecticut, California and Nevada. (And that’s still only $131 million when you add it up.)
4. 9,500 people living with HIV in the U.S. could get their meds paid for one full year.
3. She could have provided full scholarships for almost 40,000 students to attend Cal State Universities for one year. Or prevented future tuition hikes for a few years.
2. Her money would have bought 5,517 full undergrad scholarships to UC Berkley or UCLA including university fees, room and board, health insurance, travel expenses, etc.
1. Or would have helped keep domestic violence shelters in California open for the next 10 years.
Just a few ideas, for next time Whitman gets the itch to buy something.
This article was originally published on ColorLines.