How much is a trillion dollars?

This via Jennifer Fallon’s blog. Thanks Jenny!

The Huffington Post features a book called “What We Could Have Done With the Money: 50 Ways to Spend the Trillion Dollars We’ve Spent on Iraq” by Rob Simpson.

Simpson ‘calculates $1 trillion could pave the entire U.S. interstate highway system with gold – 23.5-karat gold leaf. It could buy every person on the planet an iPod. It could give every high school student in the United States a free college education. It could pay off every American’s credit card. It could buy a Buick for every senior citizen still driving in the United States.

You can read Jenny’s blog or the Huffington Post for more – or you can go to Rob Simpson’s website and try to spend that trillion dollars yourself on worthwhile stuff like education and healthcare…

And when you finally realise just how much went into a war that will never be won and which was based on a lie, you can comfort yourself that the final cost has gone up by some estimations. To 3 trillion.


How much is a trillion dollars? — 6 Comments

  1. Mm – there are things about America that I don’t get, either, and this is certainly one of them! Mind you, enough people here in Oz were taken in by the lies to re-elect Howard in 2004 – so we can’t claim to be any brighter,

  2. They close schools down in the States because of lack of money. We are not talking Universities, but just regular schools. Plus there is no regular health care for the poor. Canada is doing the same thing in Afghanistan now, most of us do NOT know why we are involved.

  3. Interesting, amusing, disturbing.

    (I’ll write my own little blog post on this because I have genuine misgivings on both sides and don’t wish to be mistaken for a ranting ignoramus venting my spleen…)

  4. Just read your blog post, Ru. The author of the book was looking at the subject purely through American eyes – and why not, of course, that is what he is. And I don’t think there can be any doubt at all that US would have been better off financially and security-wise (because the anti-Americanism created by the war also created terrorists by the hundreds.) And they wouldn’t have lost 2000 young men and women to war, another bonus.

    From Iraq’s PoV, well, I guess it depends which Iraqi you ask.

    However, in a way that wasn’t the purpose of the book. It initially started as a way to tell people just what a trillion dollars is, because the number is so huge most of us don’t comprehend it. Only when we can get our heads around a huge sum like that, can we realise the cost in financial terms. And I suspect that with that aim in mind, the book did a fine job.

  5. Sorry, yes, I did appreciate that the book was trying to put a trillion dollars into comprehensible terms … or at least vaguely comprehensible, ‘Defence’ budgets are such unthinkably huge figures. :S

    On the subject of anti-Americanism and anti-Western terrorism I think I’d beg to differ a little … it was alive and virulently kicking well before the war started. The war may have indeed exacerbated it, but the trend would have been growing steadily anyway. :

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