How Much Is $87 Billion?

Regarding Bush’s request (or was it a demand?) for an obscenely thick wad to fund ongoing occupation, TrueMajority asks:

How much is $87 billion? For that amount of money, America could:

Solve the school budget crisis in every one of our communities,
Provide health insurance for every uninsured American child for 15 years,
Provide food for all 6 million of the children who die from hunger around the world for 7 years.

A day of protest is being planned for October 25 in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles and places in between.

Update: provides a visceral, real-time tabulation of what this involvement is costing us.

Music: Huun-Huur-Tu :: Chiraa-Khoor (“The Yellow Trotter”)

9 Replies to “How Much Is $87 Billion?”

  1. Yes, true, they could (and should) spend that money on all of above, but unfortunately the author forgets: war is the most profitable business there is. Therefore, screw everything else, let’s “invest” some more into this. “If we keep scaring the american people they will keep supporting us and so will the congress. Yay for us!”

  2. This “US out of Iraq” position seems incredibly stupid at this point. If we leave now, we’ll leave behind a failed state that will quickly get carved up into three sections ruled by fundamentalists in two of them and Kurds in the other. The result would be horrible instability in the region. Not exactly in our interests. I totally opposed the war and the way it was carried out, but now that BushCo has toppled the Baathist regime we’re stuck with it. Protesting after the fact is just counterproductive. The “US out” claque forgets that we have a moral and legal responsibility to rebuild a state that we are occupying, whether or not the occupation itself was moral in the first place.

    Spend your energy getting a better regime elected here at home, one that will actually bring in an international coalition to share the burden.

    Reports today say they’re actually going to need far more than $87 billion, more like $150B. Without international help we are in severe danger of classic imperial overstretch.

  3. Chris,
    I agree with you that the US can’t leave Iraq at the moment, the place would be in (an even bigger) chaos, no doubt about it.

    I was talking about the Bush administration policy which has been the norm: war to make money. At least that’s what seems to me.

    And also seems to me, though i’m not there, so it’s perfectly normal for me to be mistaken, that they also “scare” the population, with this constant “red alerts” to keep justifying for everything they’ve been up to. I recall one case, last year, when they announced the arrest of a alleged terrorist that was preparing to make some “dirty bombs”… only they forgot to mention the arrest had been made one month before.

  4. Here’s a break-down of where all that money is going:

    [full disclosure: shameless plug for my employer in link]

    Its very interesting to note that 3/4th or so of the money is for military opperations, 1/4th for reconstruction.

    It is certainly telling of the situation if the administration (who keeps telling us hostilities are over) is putting the lions share of money into military operations rather than reconstruction.

    Things are looking much more dire than we can imagine.

  5. although 87 billion dollars is an obscene amount of money, we are not planning on just giving it away. the bulk of that money is due to be repaid from the sale of Iraqi oil.

  6. Jay,

    I’m not so sure about your conjecture. While I don’t have exact numbers… quote:

    “The Oil-for-Food Programme was established by the Security Council on 14 April 1995. Some 3.4 billion barrels of Iraqi oil valued at about $65 billion were exported under the Programme between December 1996 and 20 March 2003.” (UN website)

    That’s eight years to reach 65 billion, far from the 87 billion we will be dropping on Iraq (and don’t forget Afganistan) in one year (in addition to what we have spent already, totalling over 100 billion this year alone).

    These kinds of numbers will most likely continue to be needed for the next couple of years to be effective.

    To be optomistic (with the help of quick and dirty math), lets say Iraq produces 1.5 billion barrels of oil this year selling them at $30 a barrel. That would give us 45 billion, gross. Lets knock five billion off as overhead (I have no idea how much net would really be) that gives us 40 billion in revenue to spend freely. While this is some significant cash, it isn’t nearly enough.

    {Done another way, according to the DOE:

    For every million barrels of oil Iraq produces it costs 4 billion dollars (avg. of 3-5). At 30 dollars a barrel we get 43.8 billion dollars in a year}

    In addition, this money will not go to paying us back, but will also be used on top of the money we’re throwing in.

    Short version: no way in heck we’re getting off on the cheap.

  7. This discusssion here is exactly what makes the US what it is. You guys are just seeing the money that’s going away. The problem in IRAQ is not military, it’s the admlinistration that was installed.
    IRAQi do not have electricity anymore, nor drinkabale water – in 1991, the iraqi government brought back those services in less then a month. To stop guerilla/bombing in IRAQ, the US needs to make iraqi’s life better, but not only for a minority. Spending $87 billion is cool, but it should not go to the US military. Another problem is that the infrastructure in IRAQ was built by European comapgnies, and us compagnies , who do get money to rebuild iraq are not skilled for such technologies.

  8. Some argue that we have a moral obligation to remain in Iraq in order to help rebuild the country. But this is not what Bush is asking to do. He wants continued military presence in the Middle East. This invites more “terrorist” activity which necessitates further military presence.

    If we wanted to help Iraqi people we could support Iraqi rebuilding projects rather than hyper-inflated corporate black holes like Halliburton. Please read what an Iraqi has to say about the gross inequities of continued U.S. military presence in Iraq, especially 8.28.03.

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