The Establishment Train Is Going Off a Cliff

Sunday, April 17, 2011
By Paul Martin

By: Gary North
Market Oracle

“A billion dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to.” – Bunker Hunt, 1980

That was Mr. Hunt’s comment on his losses – at least $2 billion – in his attempt to profit from the silver market, which peaked at $49.50 in January 1980. The price fell by 75% over the next few months. Win some, lose some. At the time, he was regarded as the biggest financial loser in modern history. This was accurate, since seven years earlier, Mohammar Gadaffi had nationalized his oil operations in Libya. At the time, Hunt was the richest private citizen on earth. When Gadaffi got away with this in June of 1973, OPEC caught on and tripled the price of oil in October. That led to a worldwide recession in 1974-75. Win some, lose some.

The pundits are saying that the Democrats will spend a billion dollars to get Obama re-elected in 2012. That means that the Republicans will do their best to raise a billion dollars to get their candidate elected. One of them will lose.

Think about this. One of them could become the first billion-dollar loser in American political history. He (or she) will not be the last.

The cost of electing and not electing members of Congress will no doubt approach the cost of electing and not electing the next President. But the loss of a billion dollars has a certain ring to it. Someone is going to make history, either in 2012 or 2016, depending on when that billion-dollar figure appears.

The magnitude of a losing campaign that squanders a billion dollars is considerable. It is so huge that even conceptualizing it is difficult. The real cost is the opportunity cost: the cost of the highest value item or items foregone. Here, people debate. What is the highest-value item? There is no agreement.

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