*** Updated : July 21, 2006 ***

A Little Perspective on $87 billion.
or "A billion here, a billion there... Pretty soon it starts to add up to some real money."

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On September 7th, 2003, President Bush announced on national television that he was going to ask the Congress to grant him an additional $87 billion dollars for the fiscal year, beginning October 1, 2004, to continue the fight on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since before then, to the end of September, 2007, the United States has dedicated approximately $315 billion dollars to the cause.

But these amounts of money are an impossible for anyone to visualize. Let's have a look....

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Current Cost of the War in Iraq ...
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ONE DOLLAR One dollar ... it's roughly 6 inches long, and 2 inches wide. It's roughly as thick as a regular piece of paper.

$1 will buy you a chance to win up to $3000 with a Connecticut scratch-off lottery ticket called the "Emerald Green Tripler."

source : Connecticut Lottery


Six dollars ... set side by side, roughly 12 inches long, and 7" inches wide. Very roughly, a little longer, but narrower than a sheet of paper.

$6 will buy you about than 2 gallons of gas (at $3.00 a gallon), but you could only buy 1 gallons of milk, which sells for $3.99 a gallon in Charlotte, NC.

source : Gasbuddy.com
source : Charlotte Observer


Three Thousand dollars ... roughly the thickness of a ream of paper, 2 inches thick or 500 sheets. If you made a single stack, it would be a foot high.

You could buy a 50" Widescreen, Flat Panel, HD-Ready Plasma TV for this amount of money.

source : Amazon  


Seventy-Two Thousand dollars ... is about the size of a whole box of copier paper. This is roughly what it would cost you to buy a 2007 Jaguar XK8 2dr Convertible.

source : Edmunds



Three-Hundred-and-Sixty Thousand dollars ... A stack 5 feet tall. Shorter than the average American man. If you made a single stack, it would be 120 feet high.

You can buy a 3-bedroom, 2 bath, 1973-sq. foot condo in Las Vegas, Nevada for this amount of money.

source : Backpage 5/31/06


Nine Million dollars ... The pile is 5 feet tall, 10 feet long, and 6 feet wide. A single stack of dollar bills in this amount would be 3,000 feet high.

This horde is comparable in size to a single compact car. You could buy 489 of them for the amount, though, with enough cash left over to fill up the gas tanks of 162 of them.

But this amount of money is more than four times what you can expect to earn in your entire life, if you are an American with a college degree.

source : Yahoo Auto
source : Auto Consumerguide, based on a gas price of $3.00/gal.
source : Clovis.edu


Nine-Hundred Million dollars... The mound of cash is now 20 feet tall, 50 feet long, and 31 feet wide. The single stack of dollar bills is now climbing to 300,000 feet, or 56.8 miles.

It is about half as long as a conventional tennis court. 

This is the dollar amount for the damage caused by a natural disaster, according to insurance claims filed by victims in four states that were affected by a category 3 hurricane, (Dennis) in July, 2005.

This amount of money is what an ideal elementary school class size (400 students) can expect to earn in their lifetimes, combined.

source : insurancejournal.com
source : Michigan Land Use Institute
source : Clovis.edu

15 billion dollars




Fifteen billion dollars ... This pile of money is 60 feet high, 150 feet long, and 62½ feet deep.

This is the amount of money that the US Army has paid to Halliburton (a company once led by Vice President Dick Cheney) since late 2001 in no-bid contracts to perform services such as delivering food and fuel and constructing housing for U.S. Troops around the world, and has been persistently dogged with allegations for fraud, poor quality, overpricing, and other abuses. (On July 13, 2006, the US Army announced that it would end its dealings with the company.)

source: The Toledo Blade


Eighty-Seven Billion dollars ... This is what the President asked for on September 7th, 2003. It is 100 feet tall, 250 feet long,  and 125 feet wide. A stack of singles would be 28,998,000 feet, or over 5,492 miles, or a round-trip between Washington DC and Los Angeles, California. (2,650 miles, one-way).

A Boeing 737-200 jet is 100 feet long. You could fit 2 of those jets nose to nose along the length of this pile, and have room to spare. 

If we spread the $87 billion over an American football field, we would not be able to see much of the game. The players would be buried in 55 feet of money.

$87 billion is more than all of the states' current budget deficits, combined. $87 billion is more than twice the amount we're spending on Homeland Security.

source : Distance between Major U.S. Cities in Miles
source : Aircraft & Powerplant Corner
source : TomPaine.com



One-Hundred-Sixty-Six Billion dollars ... this represents the total amount of money President Bush spent in Iraq & Afghanistan by the beginning of fiscal year 2004 : the $87 billion he asked for, plus the $79 billion he'd already spent. 

You can barely see the man down in the corner.

This pile is 500 feet long at its longest point, which is quite a bit longer than an American  football field. The roof opening of the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, is 500 feet long. This pile of money is still 100 feet tall, and 125 feet wide. If you stacked the bills in a single column, it would be 55,333,200 feet tall, or almost 10,500 miles, or 1.68 times the distance between Washington DC and Baghdad, Iraq.

$166 billion is $568 for every man, woman and child in the United States. It's $3,269 for every person in Iraq and Afghanistan.

source : Houston Architecture Info
source : How Far is it?
source : U.S. Census Bureau PopClock
source : Iraqi Demographics
source : Demographics of Afghanistan



One-Hundred-Ninety-One Billion dollars ... April 17, 2004  : "The President wants Congress to grant him another $25 billion to continue the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, but members of both parties in Congress indicated strong reservations about giving the Pentagon the free hand it is seeking to spend the money."

"Responding to tough questions from senators in both parties, (Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D.) Wolfowitz acknowledged that, with war costs running about $4.5 billion a month, far more money will be needed next year than is now on the table. 'There will be a request for a full year supplemental early next year. It will sure be much larger than $25 billion,' he said."

source : Washington Post


Two-Hundred-Seventy-Two Billion dollars ...

UPDATE : April 25, 2005
Senate OKs $81B In Spending for Iraq, Afghanistan

WASHINGTON | The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved $81 billion for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a spending bill that would push the total cost of combat and reconstruction past $300 billion.

Both the Senate and House versions of the measure would give President Bush much of the money he requested but the bills differ over what portion should go to military operations.

The Pentagon says it needs the money by the first week of May, so Senate and House negotiators are expected to act quickly to send the president a final version of the spending bill. (AP)

This pile is 250 feet long, and 125 feet wide. It's 320 feet high at the tallest point, which is as tall as St. Steven's Tower, the clock tower that houses Big Ben at Parliament, in London, England.

source : Chicago Tribune








Three-hundred-fifteen billion dollars ...

Update : July 21, 2006

This is the amount of money the US has allocated for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to be spent by September 30, 2006, the end of the fiscal year. And the Senate is working on a spending bill that will add another $50 billion more in spending for 2007.

This pile is 125 feet wide, 200 feet deep, and 450 feet tall.

450 feet is the height of a 38-story building. It's the hieght of the Millenium Wheel in London. It is also the height of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas and the Louisiana State Capitol Building.

If you were to stack the money in a single stack, your stack would be 19,887 miles tall, enough to wrap the Moon at its equator almost 3 times.



Source: Cost of War
Source: Millenium Wheel, Wikipedia
Source: Luxor Hotel, Wikipedia
Source: Louisiana State Capitol, Wikipedia
Source: The Moon



"Our administration is concerned about deficits, and the way they deal with deficits is you want to control spending. And I hope Congress lives up to their words. When they talk about deficits, they can join us in making sure we don't overspend. They can join us and make sure that the appropriations process is focused on those issues that -- those items that are absolutely necessary to the American people. I'm pleased that members of the Congress are talking about deficits. It means they understand their obligations not to overspend the people's money." 

President Bush,
Remarks by the President in Photo Opportunity with His Cabinet
 Jan. 6, 2003

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Created by David Faris, contact information
With a nod to the MegaPenny Project,
Updated : July 21, 2006


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