What Will $700 Billion Buy You Instead of Your Neighbors’ Mortgage Debt?

by Hank Coleman

Lets face it $700 billion dollars is a lot of money.  Even though Congress was unsuccessful passing the bailout package on Monday of this week, they will continue to try to compromise a somewhat similar plan until an agreement is reached.  There is just too much pressure for there not to be a bailout at this point in the game unfortunately. 

I heard someone yesterday say it best . . . it’s like when you were talking about a lot of money when you were a child.  Anything over a million was like a zillion to a little kid.  Now, billion has been pervasive in our lexicon for decades, and a trillion will be just another normal number to our kids and grandkids.  What number will my little four year old use to express a huge number?  Below is an interesting list of some items that $700 billion could be used for instead of a bailout.

  • One 5+ year war in a foreign country – Total cost of war in Iraq so far
  • Over $5,000 for every American taxpayer – You thought that your $1,800 stimulus check was awesome!  How about a $5,000 check?
  • Pay off all of American’s student loan debt – Americans currently have approximately $550 billion in outstanding student loans.
  • America could rebuild over 1,700 of our ailing bridges
  • The Apollo space program in 1969 cost the government $164 billion in today’s dollar.  Can $700 billion put a man on Mars?  I bet it could.
  • In the 1930s, Roosevelt’s New Deal purchased 8,000 parks, 40,000 new public buildings, and 72,000 schools for the equivalent of $312 billion today.
  • You could buy 7 million Porsche 911 Carreras or 11.6 million brand new 2009 H2 Hummers.
  • The government could purchase 3.3 million homes outright.  The median home listing price in America is approximately $212,000.
  • Or the government could purchase each one of the approximate 2.5 million homes in America that are currently in some state of foreclosure for an average of $280,000 each.

$700 billion is more than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the following countries:

  • Denmark ($314 billion)
  • Norway ($381)
  • Austria ($377)
  • Argentina ($262)
  • Venezuela ($228)

GDP is the standard measure of the size of the economy. It is the total production of goods and services of a country.  The list above is just a small sample of the countries with GDPs under $700 billion.  Out of the 180 countries listed by the World Bank, only 16 had GDPs over the magic number $700 billion.

Sources: Associated Press, the World Bank, Yahoo Autos, AARP, Market Watch, Mortgage Banker’s Association, and Trulia

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