President Bush’s budget request on Monday included a line item of $145.2 billion for the war in Iraq… er.. I mean the ‘Global War on Terror.’ Now this funding isn’t already included in the massive Department of Defense budget, nor is it part of some multi-year over arching funding program. It’s a straight lump sum of 145 billion dollars of your taxes to be used next year in an Iraq ‘whatever’ fund.
But its 145 billion dollars. Surely a number like that may be difficult to get your head around or in perspective. Well that’s what I intend to do. Follow along as I show you a few other ways we could blow $145 billion of our own money.
Well here is what are spending it on. The big pot o’ taxes en route to the middle east. All proceeding images are to scale.
Now lets try spending our American taxes on…. you know… Americans.
Data: There are 10,849,000 uninsured families in the US. The average health care cost for a family is $11,500. So 10,849,000 x 11,500 = $124,763,500,000. The 10 million uninsured individuals are out of luck here.
Data: This one’s complicated, follow closely. Americans use 9,159,000 barrels of finished motor gasoline a day. 31 gallons to the barrel and thats 283,929,000 gallons a day on average. The average cost of a gallon of gas for 2006 was $2.63. Multiply that by the gallons per day and Americans spend $746,733,270 filling up. Now there are 52 of each day in the week in one year. So all the Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is 156. Multiply that by the gas spending per day and you have $116,490,390,120. Now you might say “but won’t everyone just fill up on the free gas days?” Yes, that would probably happen, but lets not ruin the fantasy ok?
Data: There are 11,650,580 students enrolled in all public institutions of higher education. Average public tuition is $9,877. So 11,650,580 x 9,877 = $115,072,778,660. Students at private colleges still have to pay.
Data: There are about 78,424,000 students in some kind of school in the US (61,074,000 elementary and secondary, 17,350,000 post-secondary). Now for example, a 1.8ghz MacBook costs $1,099 so multiply that by the number of students and you have $86,187,976,000.
Data: There are 136,568,083 registered cars in the US. Ethanol or E85 conversion kits range from $400 to $700 so I stuck with $500 (volume discount). So numbers of cars multiplied by the cost of the conversion is $68,284,041,500. This is just for cars, trucks will have to wait for next years pot o’ taxes.
Data: This is from the World Bank’s Millennium Development Goals and 30 billion is the upper range of the estimate.
Data: Again from the World Bank and 21 billion being the upper range of the estimate
Data: From a Bread for the World study done in 2000. Or we can just give every tax payer their thousand dollars back. Unfortunately we don’t have time to entertain such flights of fancy like ending hunger or free health insurance. Don’t you know there is a war on?!
It’s all about choices, and the true greatness of America, and to an extent, the world, is being held hostage by the half trillion dollar elephant in room that no one wants to talk about. Perhaps it’s said best by the five star general himself..
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
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