Stephen Colbert might want to rethink his little declaration of war

Bill O’Reilly has a dream. He doesn’t think the United States armed forces should be fighting ISIS, and would rather see a mercenary army do the dirty work for us.

A lot of people who prefer to forget that the United States (and the rest of the developed world) does employ soldiers for hire — contractors and peacekeepers, to name two types — don’t love the idea.

Predictably, Stephen Colbert couldn’t resist the pigpile, and goaded O’Reilly into a back and forth, which culminated last night when Colbert addressed O’Reilly directly: “Let’s not fight. Or if we do fight, Bill, let’s at least pay other people to do it for us.”

Clever. But probably a mistake.

The optimal strategy for Colbert is to take on Papa Bear alone. That’s right: for once, bear-wrestling would constitute only the #2 threat to Stephen Colbert.

You see, trying to outspend O’Reilly on mercenaries is a losing battle. As Colbert pointed out himself, “Mercenaries just kill anyone you pay them to. In fact, if someone else pays them more, they’ll kill you.” And according to — in other word’s, these figures are bulletproof — Colbert‘s bank account(s) currently hold(s) $45 million — plenty to raise a militia, but not nearly enough to ensure it couldn’t be bought off by O’Reilly‘s $85 million.*

*That’s nearly twice as much, for the mathematically-challenged.

Moreover, it’s not like Colbert is likely to close that gap anytime soon. He only makes $6 million a year under his current contract with Comedy Central, and even though that figure will increase next year when he takes over for David Letterman at CBS, it’s unlikely he’ll make as much as his predecessor’s $14 million — and even if he did, he’d still be losing ground on an annual basis to O’Reilly, who o’rakes in $18 million a year from Rupert Murdoch.

In other words, at current rates, Stephen won’t catch Bill until he dies — fortunately, age is one metric by which Colbert has the lead. ‘Fortunately’, for so many reasons.


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