A Little Perspective on $87 billion.
or "A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon it starts to add up to some real money."

On September 7th, 2003, President Bush announced on national television that he was asking the Congress to grant him an additional $87 billion dollars for the next fiscal year, beginning October 1, to continue the fight on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But $87 billion is an impossibly high number for anyone to visualize. Let's have a look....

ONE DOLLAR One dollar ... it's roughly 6 inches long, and 2 inches wide. It's roughly as thick as a regular piece of paper.

Six dollars ... set side by side, roughly 12 inches long, and 7" inches wide. Very roughly, a little longer, but narrower than a sheet of writing paper copier paper.

$6 will buy you 3 gallons of gas (at $1.69 a gallon).


Three Thousand dollars ... roughly the thickness of a ream of paper, 2 inches thick or 500 sheets. If you made a single stack, it would be a foot high.

You could buy one really top of the line notebook computer for this pile of cash.

Source : Apple.com 


Seventy-Two Thousand dollars ... is about the size of a whole box of copier paper. This is equal to twice the amount of money the average person in Brooklyn, New York, makes in a year. If you made a single stack, it would be a stack 24 feet high.

Source : Scientific American, Sept. 2002



Three-Hundred-and-Sixty Thousand dollars ... A stack 5 feet tall. Shorter than the average American man. If you made a single stack, it would be 120 feet high.

You can buy a pretty nice house almost anywhere in America for that kind of cash.


Nine Million dollars ... The pile is 5 feet tall, 10 feet long, and 6 feet wide. A single stack of dollar bills in this amount would be 3000 feet high.

This stack is comparable in size to a single compact car. You could buy 505 of them for the amount, though, with enough cash left over to fill up the gas tanks of 139 of them.

Source : Volkswagen
Source : Woman Motorist, based on a gas price of $1.69


Nine-Hundred Million dollars... This pile is now 20 feet tall, 50 feet long, and 31 feet wide. The single stack of dollar bills is now climbing to 300,000 feet tall, or 56.8 miles tall.

This pile is about half as long as a conventional tennis court. 

This load of money will buy you 600 million loaves of bread, or 225 million six-packs of soda in Barbados.

Source : http://barbadosvillas.biz/100/details.htm


Eighty-Seven Billion dollars ... This is what the President is asking for. It is 100 feet tall, 250 feet long,  and 125 feet wide. A stack of singles would be 28,998,000 feet, or over 5,492 miles, or more than twice the distance between Washington DC and Los Angeles, California. (2,650 miles, one-way).

A Boeing 737-200 jet is 100 feet long. You could fit 2 of those jets nose to nose along the length of this pile. 

$87 billion is more than all of the states' current budget deficits, combined. 

$87 billion is more than twice the amount we're spending on Homeland Security.

Source : Distance between Major U.S. Cities in Miles
Source : Aircraft & Powerplant Corner
Source : TomPaine.com




One-Hundred-Sixty-Six Billion dollars ... this equals the total amount of money President Bush wants to spend in Iraq & Afghanistan by the beginning of October, 2004 : the $87 billion he wants, plus the $79 billion he's already spent. 

You can barely see the man down in the corner.

This pile is 500 feet long at its longest point, which is quite a bit longer than an American  football field. The roof opening of the Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, is 500 feet long. This pile of money is still 100 feet tall, and 125 feet wide. If you stacked the bills in a single column, it would be 55,333,200 feet tall, or almost 10,500 miles, or 1.68 times the distance between Washington DC and Baghdad, Iraq.

$166 billion is $568 for every man, woman and child in the United States. It's $6,385 for every person in Iraq.

Source : Houston Architecture Info
Source : How Far is it?
Source : U.S. Census Bureau PopClock
Source : Iraqi Demographics


"Our administration is concerned about deficits, and the way they deal with deficits is you 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 the appropriations process is focused on those issues that -- those items that are absolutely necessary to the American people. I'm pleased that members of the Congress are talking about deficits. It means they understand their obligations not to overspend the people's money." 

President Bush,
Remarks by the President in Photo Opportunity with His Cabinet
 Jan. 6, 2003

With a nod to the MegaPenny Project,
copyright 2003, Dave Faris. All rights reserved. contact information
Updated : October 09, 2003