Two wars that have now cost America $1 trillion. Two wars that never brought to justice Osama bin Laden, the supposed mastermind behind September 11. Two wars that have cost us about 5,500 American lives, and the lives of countless innocent Iraqi and Afghani civilians. (By the way, if you have a little extra time this Memorial Day, take a break from the BBQ and take a look at this: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/. This is The Washington Post's haunting full archive of all our dead soldiers, most with pictures.)
All this may be pretty overwhelming to think about. So, let's just consider one part of it: the $1 trillion.
How much is a trillion? Enough to provide over 294 million people with health care for a year (or 440 million if the "people" are all children).
For your consideration:
Crossing the $1 Trillion Cost Of War Line
NPP’s Cost of War counter to hit $1 trillion on May 30, 2010
NORTHAMPTON, MA — On May 30, 2010, at 10:06am, the National Priorities Project Cost of War counter — designed to count the total money appropriated for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — will reach the $1 trillion mark.
To date $747.3 billion have been appropriated for the U.S. war in Iraq and $299 billion for the war in Afghanistan.
The pending supplemental making its way through Congress will add an estimated $37 billion to the current $136.8 billion total spending for the current fiscal year, ending September 30.
What Can You Get For $1 Trillion?
Federal Funding For Higher Education — $1 trillion would give the maximum Pell Grant award ($5,500) to all 19 million U.S. college and university students for the next 9 years.
For $1 trillion, you could provide:
294,734,961 people with health care for one year, or
21,598,789 public safety officers for one year, or
17,149,392 music and arts teachers for one year, or
7,779,092 affordable housing units, or
440,762,472 children with health care for one year, or
137,233,969 head start places for children for one year, or
16,427,497 elementary school teachers for one year, or
1,035,282,468 homes with renewable electricity for one year
In your community:
Taxpayers in Natick, Massachusetts will pay $206.9 million for total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For that amount, instead of implementing a proposed 4 percent cut for Natick’s libraries in 2011, the town could double its total current library budget, and pay for it for 56 years.
Taxpayers in the Borough of Brooklyn, New York will pay $9 billion for total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. That’s enough to supply renewable electricity to every household in Brooklyn for 19 years.
As college and university tuitions grow, community colleges are increasingly popular sources of affordable education. At Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts, for the cost of the Afghanistan war "surge" (est. $37 billion) you could cover all tuition and fees for all full- and part-time (half-time) students for the next 762 semesters (381 years).
WHAT DOES $1 TRILLION LOOK LIKE?
$1,000,000,000,000 (“1’ and twelve zeros)
If you earned $1 million a year, it would take you 1 million years to earn $1 trillion.
In Dollar Bills:
If you converted $1 trillion into one dollar bills, and laid them end to end, it would reach 98 million miles. That's 4,000 times around the Earth. Its 205 trips to the Moon. And back. It's more than the distance to the Sun.
In Silver Dollars:
If someone handed you a silver dollar every second, it would take almost 32,000 years for them to hand you $1 trillion. Not that you could hold them — they'd weigh nearly 9 million tons.
About NPP’s Cost of War Counters
NPP’s Cost of War counters provide information on the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for each of the 50 states.
The counters also provide cost amounts and “trade-off” data for hundreds of U.S. cities and towns.
To see NPP’s Cost of War counters and our Notes & Sources, visit http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home
The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels. For more information, visit http://www.nationalpriorities.org.