Other ways to spend $12 billion

Megan McFadden

The Congressional Budget Office reported last week the Iraq War will cost the U.S. $12 billion a month this year.

An estimate of $845 billion will be spent on the war by the end of the year. That is $175 billion dollars more than the total cost of the 12-year Vietnam War.

This statistic got me thinking: What else could the world do with $12 billion?

The World Food Progamme needs $3 billion to feed 59 million school children in developing countries. They ask people to donate what equals 25-cents a day or $91 a year to feed African children a nutritious meal every day. With $12 billion we could feed hungry children in developing countries for 4 years.

Save Darfur operates with a $15.5 million budget. The organization is working toward getting foreign aid to the war-infested country.

What about in our homeland? Certainly, $12 billion could be used somewhere in America.

Hurricane Katrina has an estimated $110 billion price tag. This is a little steep, but seeing we are already 2 months into 2008 that’s $24 billion already spent this year on the war. The estimated price per month in 2002 was $4 billion and we have been there for five years, even if the price per month did not increase in the five years we have been in Iraq, that is still $264 billion. More than enough to clean-up the three year-old devastated areas of Katrina.

What about our shaky economy and the numerous jobs that have been cut in the auto-industry and the mortgage and banking work field? If a month’s worth of the war expenditure was used to subsidize those industries, think of the jobs that could have been saved. Let alone the state our economy would be in instead of what it is now.

Then there is the current dilemma that faces college students. Gov. Schwarzenegger is cutting $312 million dollars from the CSU/UC budget. We don’t even need a months worth of the war cost, just a small fraction, to keep our tuition down.

Or maybe we can all share June’s war cost. The Gates Foundation has about $35 billion and gives an estimated $1.5 billion a year to numerous high schools. Our primary education schools don’t even need the total $12 billion for improvement.

I understand freedom isn’t free, but the cost of this war is a bit high. With so many other problems in the world and maintenance needed in our own country, maybe we should evaluate the spending of our tax paid dollars.