- Days left

Wanna take a $3 trillion shopping spree?

Since co-authoring The Three Trillion Dollar War with Linda Bilmes, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has tried to help American taxpayers wrap their heads around just how much our government is spending on the conflicts and subsequent occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan by doing some comparison shopping.

"Try filling your shopping cart with what the cost of the Iraq War could buy: health care for every American? A new home for every subprime borrower now facing foreclosure? An Ivy League degree or two? You haven't even gotten started," Stiglitz said.

To illustrate Stiglitz's assertion, the folks at True Majority and Brave New Films launched the Three Trillion Dollar Shopping Spree, where consumers can fill their carts with $3 trillion worth of virtual items that could save the world or just make their own lives easier.

I barely broke the $1 trillion mark on my shopping spree, even with a cart full of goodies like fighting AIDS in developing nations ($15 billion), worldwide compliance with the Kyoto Protocol ($400 billion), worldwide no-kill animal shelters ($7 billion), achieving universal literacy ($5 billion) and a vacation in space for $20 million (hey, altruism has its limits).

Apparently, it's a lot easier to spend the big bucks on armed conflict. According to Stiglitz and Bilmes, this is how $3 trillion is being spent by the Bush administration in its war efforts:

  • $526 billion - borrowed money poured into Iraq so far
  • $615 billion - total interest costs for taxpayers
  • $280 billion - to rebuild our military
  • $590 billion - disability benefits and health care for Iraq veterans
  • $1.5 trillion - estimated costs through 2017

So while it's fun to fill your virtual shopping cart with items like universal health care for all Americans (about $6,000 per person), It's hard not be infuriated when you see where this money is actually going. The Three Trillion Dollar Shopping Spree gives people a clearer picture of how their tax dollars could be better spent.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Know The Key Dates For Health Care Reform

"Open enrollment periods for the health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act are limited" says Mac Schneider, a retired certified public accountant from Albion, Michigan. ?Avoiding tax penalties requires awareness of important dates that may vary year-to-year.? As well as key dates, there are time cycles and coverage gap allowances important to health insurance coverage under provisions of health care reform.

Deducting Mortgage Interest FAQs

If you're a homeowner, you probably qualify for a deduction on your home mortgage interest. The tax deduction also applies if you pay interest on a condominium, cooperative, mobile home, boat or recreational vehicle used as a residence.

What Extra Tax Deductions Should I Make Sure To Take?

The federal government offers tax deductions and credits to reduce taxable income under certain circumstances. There are several that are often overlooked, including deductions for job hunting, caregiver expenses for dependents and children while you work, a credit to reduce taxes for moderate- to low-income earners and the premium tax credit associated with the Affordable Care Act. TurboTax can help determine if you qualify for these credits and deductions.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum