Effect Measure

Because it’s there

The US House of Representatives just did what it does best: spend money according to the most life-denying priorities one can imagine, turning human values upside down. Surprise.

The House bill (which must be reconciled with a more generous but equally egregious Senate version) vomits up $94.5 billion, more than two thirds of which is to finance two wars that have already sent over a third of a trillion dollars down the hopper. The vote was 351 – 67 with minimal debate. This bill is in addition to a $427 billion defense spending bill that has another $50 billion for the Iraq mistake.

The compromise bill includes Bush’s plan to provide 1,000 more Border Patrol agents along the Mexican border, deploy about 6,000 National Guard troops and build detention space for 4,000 illegal immigrants.


The bill also contains funding for controversial, accident-prone V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for deployment to Iraq, as well as more popular C-130 cargo planes. (Military.com)

So this is $100 billion dollars, give or take a few billion. Practically no debate and little dissent. A billion is a pretty big number. Suppose a dollar bill is 100 microns thick (I’m guessing; I have no idea how thick a dollar bill is). That’s 10-4 meters. Let’s stack up 100 billion of them. That’s 1011 x 10-4 = 107 meters or 104 kilometers or a stack of dollar bills 6.2 miles high. That’s higher than Mt. Everest. The majority of these dollar bills finance violence.

I forgot to mention this: $2.3 billion of the $94.5 billiion (<2.5%) is earmarked for bird flu, mainly to buy vaccines and antivirals from Big Pharma. Correction (h/t scott): Whopper of a math mistake. It’s not one Mt. Everest tall, it’s 1000 Mt. Everests tall (6200 miles, not 6.2 miles). That’s (literally) a pile of money.


  1. #1 Craig Pennington
    June 14, 2006

    10 kilometers is 6.2 miles. 10^4 kilometers is 6,200 miles.


    According to Treasury, “[e]ach note is 0.0043 inches thick” which is 1.1 x 10^-4 meters, so your guess is about right. A mere billion dollar bills would be more than 62 miles high, though.

  2. #2 Jobo
    June 14, 2006

    Close enough, US bills are 124 +- 7 micrometers thick.

  3. #3 scott
    June 14, 2006

    but the math is a bit off. 10**4 kilometers is 6200 miles (.62 miles per kilometer)

  4. #4 revere
    June 14, 2006

    scott: LOL. I’m an epidemiologist. 6 miles is the same as 6000 miles! Pretty big goof on my part. I’ll put up a correction. Thanks.

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