Last year, the United States spend 610 billion dollars on defense. That's a lot of money, and we were wondering what else it could have accomplished. These are obviously rough estimates, and don't account for how much completely reconfiguring systems like American public schools would cost (or save). Flooding issues with money doesn't always solve problems, but this does help to illustrate the tremendous scale of the disparity between what we spend on weapons versus social services.
1. Pay for lots of degrees.
There are 1.4 million people on active duty, and a four-year degree from a private university costs an average of $140,000. That price tag says a lot about the inflated cost of a U.S. private education.
2. End world hunger.
According to the Borgen Project, it would only cost $30 billion per year, which is pretty low price considering how many people that would feed.
3. Do some serious cleaning.
Superfunds are extremely polluted areas federal law has mandated need to be restored. According to The Center for Public Integrity, it would cost $681,000,000 per year to salvage them and protect the surrounding areas.
4. Catch up with Europe.
According to The Week, it would take passengers two hours and forty minutes instead of the current six hours the trip demands.
5. Fight HIV.
6. End homelessness.
7. Buy back guns.
8. Pay teachers a lot better.
We don't think any of the 3.5 million teachers in the U.S. would complain.
9. Gummy bears for all.
It's what the world needs now.