How Big is $700 Billion Really?

Think about this with me for a minute if you would. The government is asking us taxpayers to hand over $700 billion more dollars on top of the $2+ trillion we already give them (or they obligate us with in the form of debt). That’s an enormous amount of money.

Today there is an Associated Press article that looks at what just how big $700 billion is compared to other spending. I quote some of the article below:

You could buy yourself a war with that kind of money – the U.S. has spent $648 billion on Iraq war operations so far.

You could match Franklin Roosevelt on his New Deal and raise him billions more.

Even in a town where billions come and go without anyone blinking, the money that could go into the Wall Street rescue is eye-popping. The House on Monday voted down a proposed $700 billion bailout package, but congressional leaders said they were committed to trying again.

What else could the government do with a $700 billion blank check? There are, well, billions of possibilities.

It could ensure universal health care coverage for six years, for example, or upgrade the country’s most deficient bridges four times over. All the work to upgrade coastal levees that’s been done since Hurricane Katrina? It’s a mere drop in the proverbial $700 billion bucket – $7 billion, or just 1 percent. You could build 1,750 bridges to nowhere.

Or run an entire country. Seven hundred billion dollars is more than twice the size of the economy of Denmark, which had a gross domestic product of $312 billion in 2007.

Seven hundred billion dollars would buy 70 Hubble-type space telescopes. Or about seven international space stations. It would finance the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s premier medical research institute, for two decades. Or pay the U.S. national intelligence budget for 15 years.

According to the Wall Street Journal, half the money FDR spent on his New Deal program to lift the country out of the Depression and banking crisis was for public works projects. For $250 billion in today’s dollars, the nation got 8,000 parks, 40,000 public buildings and 72,000 schools.

The article provides even more examples but I think you get the picture. My question for the government is simple: You created this problem so why should I trust you to fix it with more government?

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