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The Big Waste

By       Message Mick Youther     Permalink
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One of the big news stories at the end of June was that the second richest man in the world, Warren Buffet, was donating $37 billion to the Gates Foundation, which is headed by the richest man in the world, Bill Gates. Mr. Buffet's gift would double the assets available to the Gates Foundation and allow it to spend about $3 billion a year on its various charitable projects.

According to the news reports, this level of spending would allow the Gates Foundation to treat each of the 40 million worldwide AIDS patients, fund vaccinations that would save 6 million children, and cut world hunger in half.

• "When you look at the amount of resources that are now going to be in the Gates Foundation, we could be looking at literally tens of millions of lives saved over the next decade." --Dr. Nils Daulaire of the Global Health Council, ABC News, 6/27/06

In the same report, Bill Gates said the money could push their dream of providing a first-class education for every American child, and his wife, Melinda Gates, said, "I think we dream in our lifetime about an AIDS Vaccine."

As I listened to the laundry list of good things the Gates Foundation could do with $3 billion, I kept thinking ... or they could pay for two weeks of the Iraq War, but it seems that I overestimated how much Iraq War you can buy for $3 billion.

• "The U.S. government is now spending nearly $10 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, up from $8.2 billion a year ago, a new Congressional Research Service report found." --TheWashington Post, 4/20/06

I find it hard to comprehend the amount of money that our government is wasting in Iraq, but a study done by Senator Ted Kennedy's office (D-MA) puts it in perspective by pointing out what we could have purchased with the same amount of money that is wasted in just one day of Mr. Bush's War. Here are some examples taken from a statement given by Senator Kennedy on the Senate floor on October 25, 2005:

For the cost of fighting the war in Iraq one day, we could do any of the following:

• Purchase 780 fire trucks for improving local emergency response capabilities.

• Employ 4,919 fire fighters, 4,222 police patrol officers, or 7,052 paramedics and emergency medical technicians for one year each.

• Double the federal budget for nuclear reactor safety and security inspections to ensure that these potential terrorist targets are adequately protected.

• Pay for 1,101 additional border patrol agents to better guard our borders against potential terrorists.

• Provide 9,750 port container inspection units to detect hazardous materials being trafficked into the country.

• Cover the full cost of attendance for one year at a public college for more than 17,100 students.

• Enroll 27,000 more children in Head Start.

• Employ 4,269 elementary school teachers or 4,027 secondary school teachers for one year.

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Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a Christian, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been aroused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.

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