Ping (zestyping) wrote,

What $1.2 trillion can buy.

This is a summary of David Leonhardt's piece in today's New York Times. He didn't provide numbers for everything, but the case is compelling. Thanks to Moira for pointing out this article.

Option A:
Doubled funding for the National Cancer Institute $6 billion/year
Treatment for every American with unmanaged heart disease or diabetes $50 billion/year
Universal preschool for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds $35 billion/year

Total $91 billion/year
For ten years $910 billion
Additional funding needed to save 10 million more lives in the next ten years of immunization campaigns in the 72 poorest countries $15 billion
Funding to stop the Taliban in Afghanistan $10 billion/year
9/11 Commission recommendations for cargo screening and anti-nuclear-proliferation measures $10 billion/year
Reconstruction funds for New Orleans (unspecified)
Peacekeeping force in Darfur (unspecified)

Option B:
Military operations in Iraq $120 billion/year
For the entire course of the war $700 billion
One quarter of the rise in oil prices (the war's estimated contribution) $150 billion
Replacing hardware used in Iraq and restoring the military $100 billion
Veterans' medical care and disability payments $250 billion

Invasion and occupation of Iraq $1200 billion

The $1.2 trillion estimate comes from Wallsten and Kosec (their site also has an interactive estimation tool that lets you adjust the assumptions they made to come up with your own estimate). Another well-known estimate puts the cost of the war at over $2 trillion, which includes an estimate of the economic value of the injuries and lives lost.

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