Exactly how much is a Billion dollars?

In previous posts, I have touched on the cost of war, lamenting the fact that at least some of this could be so much better spent saving lives, instead of taking them, if used toward international aid. However you can’t let frustration get the better of you.

With this in mind, I am posting a humorous piece I ran across. One that does nevertheless make one very serious point – a visual on just how much money is spent on war.

A US dollar is about six inches long.

The moon, that large round thing in the night sky with no advertising on it, is roughly 238,000 miles from the earth, or 1,256,640,000 feet; that would be 2,513,280,000 dollars laid end-to-end. 2,513,280,000 is just over two-and-a-half Billion.

A billion (in the US) is a thousand million, or in other words, more than your take-home pay between now and the thirty-third century, not including tips.

Here's the next important number: the Iraq war costs around $6 billion a month.

Let us review. Every month, the United States spends enough money killing Arabs of various kinds so that, if we instead decided to paperclip all those dollars together, we could not only reach the moon, we could come all the way back again with another chain of dollars, and still have enough dollars left over to go all the way around the equator ($262,954,560) 3.8 times. And that is every month.

The sun is 93 million miles from Earth (that's a rough number, don't use this for navigational purposes) or 982,080,000,000 bucks. At least we haven't reached the sun yet, right, gang? Good news. We haven't reached the sun.

But we have spent enough dollars so far ($218,000,000,000 as of this writing) to get us over a fifth of the way there.

So was it worth the money to wage war on Iraq? Objectively speaking, are the people better off? I suppose so; under Saddam Hussein they lived in terror of his cruel dictatorial whims, whereas now they live in terror of everything else, but cruel dictatorial whims don't enter into it. I mean unless one were to characterize the American president at this time as a dictator. I wouldn't dare, myself, lest I be subjected to his cruel whim.

There are non-monetizable costs of war, too. A whole lot of people are dead that wouldn't otherwise be dead, for example. So from that standpoint, maybe not such a good idea. But we're talking about what matters: money.

Now let's say we have enough dollars lined up to get nearly a quarter of the way to the sun. Where are all these dollars coming from? You can't slip that kind of loot out of mom's purse. These dollars are coming from foreign governments and financial institutions. The USA has borrowed all this money from people that don't even use dollars at home!

Since G. W. Bush took office (and he did take it), his government has borrowed $1.05 Trillion. That is to say, over one thousand Billion.

Remember how many a Billion is? $1.05 trillion is more than the total borrowed by every administration between 1776 and 2000 ($1.01 trillion). The mind implodes.

Half of this nation's debt in 224 years. --The other half since Junior Bush got the top job.

Remember how far away the sun is? We have spent enough dollars to get us all the way to the sun with plenty to spare for sunscreen.

[By Ben Tripp, CounterPunch]

No comments: