In the wake of the emergency spending bill Congress just sent to President Bush, America will have allocated just under $320 billion for the war in Iraq. That’s a big number; it’s certainly more than the $50 billion that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld initially predicted in January 2003.

The price tag is so large, in fact, that it has almost become an abstraction. So to put that number into context, we’re asking our readers to chime in with suggestions as to what else you could buy for $320 billion. Please use the comment box at the bottom of the page to submit your suggestions, and e-mail this page around to your friends to see what they come up with.

We’ll get it started with a few suggestions already floating around on the Internet.

  • Implement the Kyoto Protocol in America Source: Cass Sunstein, author and U. of Chicago Law School professor. (Using numbers crunched by two Yale economists, Sunstein points out that $300 billion is roughly what it would have cost the U.S. to abide by the international greenhouse gas-fighting agreement.)
  • At least double U.S. auto efficiency by 2015 by investing in hybrid research Source: The Left Coaster blog
  • Buy 545,000 state-of-the-art electronic voting machines with paper trails Source: The Left Coaster blog
  • Fully fund global anti-hunger efforts for 12 years Source: National Priorities Project
  • Give a $100,000 bonus to every public school teacher in the country. Source: Ben Tracy WCCO-TV (CBS)
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