$456 Billion Meme

Sam of Blog, MD fame has tagged me.

I must confess, it is not often that I get tagged by someone who has been quoted on the front page of the Boston Herald. I feel compelled to comply with such a tag. What\’s next, Queen Elizabeth commenting on my blog??

Now, the first thing you must understand first that the idea of this meme is to speculate better uses for the $456 Billion likely to be spent on the war in Iraq. As I avoid politics as much as possible (accept where it involves accordions and toilets), I won\’t make this a statement about my feelings about the war itself.

Still, it would be a better world if we did not have this $456 Billion to spend on killing and/or preventing us being killed, so I think that regardless of your feelings on this war, it is worthwhile to conjecture how much could be done with this money.

So here is the math:

  • The population of the world now is 6.59 Billion
  • The population of the US is 302 Million
  • 13 Percent are left-handed
  • According to the 1990 U. S. Census Bureau data, approximately 5% of the population in the United States had the last name of Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown, Davis, Miller, or Wilson.
  • The population of Canada is 33 Million
  • The population of the UK is 60 Million
  • The population of Ethiopia is 71 Million
  • The population of Delaware is 834,000

So what does this mean?

  • Every person in the world could have an extra $69.19
  • Every person in the US could have $1509
  • If you just gave it the the Lefties, each would get $11,614
  • If you just gave it to the people named Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown, Davis, Miller, or Wilson, each gets $30,198
  • If you just gave it to the lefties with those names, they get $232,297 each.
  • If we just wanted to help our neighbors to the north, you could give each one $13,818 (Have fun, Joan)
  • Shinga could get $7,600 (I am not going to calculate how many pounds) if we were generous to the Brits (reparations for the losing the colonies)
  • If Shinga is left-handed, then we could give her $58,461
  • Seriously, each person from Ethiopia could get $6422. The average income for people in that country is $700, so you could pay them this for 7-years (or we could just increase the GDP of that country 7-fold).
  • I feel sorry for people in Delaware. That is a particularly bland state (although it does have some nice beaches). Out of pity, we could give each Delawarean $547,000 dollars to spruce the state up a bit.

Other facts:

  • In the US, there are 19 Million Children under 5 and 50 million under 14. This means that $24,000 could be spent on each child under 5 and $9120 on each child under 14. For the vast majority, you could cover all of their healthcare expense with this money.

  • From another angle, you could buy each child under 14 nearly 20,000 packs of Skittles or 2,900 Pokemon Dragon Frontiers booster packs for the boys and 1827 My Little Pony Morning Dawn Delight ponies for each of the girls.

  • From my favorite website, goatfinder.com, I found that an Oberhausli dairy goat costs $300 (depending on who is selling, I suspect). This means that every person in the US could get 5 goats, and every person in Delaware could get over 1800 of these goats. Wow, what lucky dogs…um, goats.

  • Llamas cost about $1,200 (there was no llamafinder.com), so we could get everyone in the US a llama and we would have enough money to throw in a goat, if we wanted.

    (I would hope that everyone would not get carried away and dress like this lady).

  • On accordion-o-rama.com, I found a Ferrari accordion for $1,200. Yes, you could get one of these and also throw in a goat.


So there you have it. $456 Billion is a lot of money. It is a real shame we are spending it the way we are. Whether you agree with the war or not, this world would be so much better if the only hard choice was between an accordion or a llama (throwing in a goat, of course, with each).

Maybe we should start a new saying: "Make llamas (and a goat), not war." Hmmm…, sounds catchy.

OK, now I tag Vijay, Dr. Val, JMB, Dork, and Sandy.