Independent Democracy

Thought provoking commentary

The cost of the Iraq war – What can $611 billion buy?

Do you have any other ideas on how to spend $611 billion – or comparisons for what that money could have bought? Please leave your comments.


If the Bush administration succeeds in its latest request for funding for the war in Iraq, the total cost would rise to $611.5 billion, according to the National Priorities Project, a nonprofit research group.

The amount got me wondering: What would $611 billion buy?

Nearly 4,000 Newton North High Schools
Tagged as the most expensive high school in Massachusetts, at $154.6 million, the construction design for the new Newton North High School could be replicated almost 4,000 times using the money spent on the war.


40 Big Digs

At almost $15 billion, Boston’s Central Artery project has been held up as the nation’s most expensive public works project. Now multiply that by 40 and you’re getting close to US taxpayers’ commitment to democracy in Iraq – so far.


Almost 18 months’ worth of free gas for everyone
US drivers consume approximately 384.7 million gallons of gasoline a day. Retail prices averaged $3.00 a gallon in early November. Breaking it down, $611 billion could buy gasoline for everybody in the United States, for about 530 days.


Many, many environment-friendly cars on the road

With $611 billion, you could convert all cars in America to run on ethanol nine times over. estimates that converting the 136,568,083 registered cars in the United States to ethanol (conversion kits at $500) would cost $68.2 billion.


Nearly 14 million years’ worth of tuition, room, and board at Harvard
At published rates for this year, $611 billion translates into almost 14 million free rides for a year at Harvard University.

Tuition and fees at the University of Massachusetts-Boston could be paid for over 53 million years.


More than a year’s worth of Medicare benefits for everyone

In fiscal 2008, Medicare benefits will total $454 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation summary. The $611 billion in war costs is 17 times the amount vetoed by the president for a $35 billion health benefit program for poor children.


A looong contract for Dice-K

The Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka agreed on a six-year, $52 million contract. The war cost could be enough to have Dice-K mania for more than 70,000-some years at this year’s rate.


A real war on poverty
According to World Bank estimates, $54 billion a year would eliminate starvation and malnutrition globally by 2015, while $30 billion would provide a year of primary education for every child on earth.

At the upper range of those estimates, the $611 billion cost of the war could have fed and educated the world’s poor for seven years.




November 12, 2007 - Posted by | Current Events, Environment, Fun Stuff, Health, Humor, Iraq, Military & War, Money, News, Politics, Random, Sports | ,


  1. Neveda solar one is a solar power plant in Neveda. It cost $240 million to build and provides pollution free energy to 14,000 households.

    The money spent on the War in Iraq could have built 2545 solar power plants, enough energy to supply 35,630,000 households. That is one-third of population of the United States based on the 2000 census.

    Comment by Lee | December 4, 2007 | Reply

  2. 611 Billion could almost pay for two years worth of tax payers money gone to illegal immigrants through our welfare and education system. The war should be at our borders.

    Comment by Kevin | April 3, 2008 | Reply

  3. Bush/8 years of HELL.

    Comment by eugene pache | January 23, 2009 | Reply

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