What Can $87 Billion Buy?

What Can $87 Billion Buy? The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute based in Washington, D.C. On September 7th, President Bush asked Congress for an additional $87 billion for the war in Iraq, acknowledging that the engagement in Iraq is going to cost many hundreds of billions of dollars. This was a surprise considering that prior to the war, the administration dismissed such estimates, and even fired its top economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, for suggesting those estimates were correct. To get some perspective, here are some real-life comparisons about what $87 billion means. $87b Is More Than The Combined Total Of All State Budget Deficits In The United States The Bush administration proposed absolutely zero funds to help states deal with these deficits, despite the fact that their tax cuts drove down state revenues. [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities] $87b Is Rougly The Total Of Two Years Worth Of All U.S. Unemployment Benefits The U.S. spends about $50 billion a year on unemployment insurance. At least 1.1 million people have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits without finding a job, and yet Congress has refused to extend benefits. [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities] $87b Is Enough To Pay The 3.3 Million People Who Have Lost Jobs $26,363 Each The unemployment benefits extension passed by Congress at the beginning of this year provides zero benefits to "workers who exhausted their regular, state unemployment benefits and cannot find work." All told, two thirds of unemployed workers have exhausted their benefits. [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities] $87b Is More Than Double The Total Amount The Government Spends On Homeland Security The U.S. spends about $36 billion on homeland security. Yet, Sen. Warren Rudman (R-N.H.) wrote "America will fall approximately $98.4 billion short of meeting critical emergency responder needs" for homeland security without a funding increase. [Source: Council on Foreign Relations] $87b Is 7 Times What The Government Spends On Title I For Low-Income Schools President Bush proposed a budget of just $12 billion for Title I, leaving a $6.2 billion hole in what he promised to spend on Title I in his No Child Left Behind Bill. [Source: House Appropriations Committee] $87b Is 87 Times The Amount The Federal Government Spends On After School Programs President Bush proposed a budget that reduces the $1 billion for after-school programs to $600 million -- cutting off about 475,000 children from the program. [Souce: House Appropriations Committee] $87b Is About 9 Times What The Federal Government Spends On Special Education Legislation authorizes the federal government to pay 40 percent of the cost of special education, but because of budget shortfalls, it only pays roughly 18 percent (or $9.9 billion), driving up local property taxes. [Source: House Appropriations Committee] $87b Is More Than 10 Times What The Government Spends On All Environmental Protection The Bush administration requested just $7.6 billion for the entire Environmental Protection Agency. This included a 32 percent cut to water quality grants, a 6 percent reduction in enforcement staff, and a 50 percent cut to land acquisition and conservation. [Source: Natural Resources Defense Council] $87b Is 8 Times The Total For Pell Grants -- The Major College Program In The U.S. In 1975, when the Pell Grant program was established, it financed about 84 percent of the cost of attending a four-year public college. Today, that share is down to about 40 percent, and under Congress’s current proposal to freeze Pell Grant funding at about $10 billion, it would drop to 38 percent. [Source: House Appropriations Committee] $87b Is More Than The Total Cost Of The First 3 Years Of The Medicare Pres. Drug Proposal [Source: Congressional Budget Office] $87b Is Enough To Give Every Man, Woman And Child In America $300 "[We] want to control spending. And I hope Congress lives up to their words. When they talk about deficits, they can join us in making sure we don't overspend. They can join us and make sure that [they are] focused those items that are absolutely necessary to the American people." - President Bush, Jan. 6, 2003