Erik had a post yesterday in which he pointed out that the Iraq war has crossed a threshold, causing more American deaths than the War of 1812, the Seminole Wars, the Mexican-American War, and the Spanish-American War.
He also pointed out that this war has now cost $432 Billion, and asked the question-- what is that for every person in the United States. The answer is $1,440 for every man, woman and child in the United States (assuming a population of 300 million). In a family of four, that's $5,760.
What else could your family have spent that money on?
Here are some more numbers to ponder:
The B-2 stealth bomber cost $23 Billion to develop-- that's the cost before even one flew. The first one flew in 1993. Despite a 1995 study for Congress that determined that after the fall of the Soviet Union, there was no use for the B-2, the program was continued over the protestations of the Air Force, which had no mission for the aircraft, and understood how expensive the B-2 was to operate. Despite this, 21 aircraft were built and deployed. Because their maintenance is difficult, they are all based in an airbase in Missouri, further limiting their operational effectiveness. Because of the distance, missions to Iraq took 30 and up to 50 hours.
Because of the costs, the first 21 of the originally-planned 132 aircraft were the only ones built. Those 21 cost, between development and building costs, according to a GAO report, $44.4 Billion. This is over $2 Billion per aircraft. And this is not even to mention the operating costs. By comparision, an aircraft carrier costs about $4 Billion.
And of course, this begs the question, how does a $2 billion bomber help a US soldier against a guy with a car bomb?
Thinking about it a little further, what could $44.4 Billion have bought? It could have given $100,000 college scholarships to 444,000 people. Can you think of anyone who could have used one of those scholarships?
What kind of mass transit system could $44.4 billion have purchased for a few cities, greatly reducing oil use? What could $432 billion have purchased? A nationwide high speed rail system? A lot of new schools? Put a lot of cops on the street? Paid for a lot of drug rehab? Treated a lot of mentally ill people?
Here's a thought: we have about 2 million people incarcerated in the United States. That's greater than the population of 50 of the world's 192 countries-- more than a quarter of them.
Think there's a connection between all of these things?