$2.4 Trillion for Afghan and Iraq Wars

Among the most read stories on the Interwebs: Buying Apple stock in 2001 instead of an iPod would have been a better investment; the Library of Congress is disorganized — at least 13 percent of it, anyway; a report says the Afghan and Iraq wars could cost 2.4 trillion dollars and the city of Dallas wants you to pull your pants up.

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ALISON STEWART, host:

I've had way too much coffee for that music. You're listening to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. Mike Pesca is joining me, Alison Stewart.

And we know you're really supposed to be at work during the day, finishing up those TPS reports, but we know you're online looking at different stories. How do we know? Our production staff has scoured the Internet, sifting through the most e-mailed and read stories of the week, which can mean only one thing. It is time for The Most.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: Producer M.J. Davis is in the studio. What do you got, M.J.?

M.J. DAVIS: Well, this is the number (unintelligible). Right now it's that -oh, thanks, mic me, mic me. The number three thing on (unintelligible) right now said if you had spent in 2001 that 399 you spent on your iPod, if you just put it in Apple stock, it would be worth $10,000 right now.

STEWART: And that iPod you bought in 2001 is basically a doorstop right now.

DAVIS: Right. You trashed it.

PESCA: Yeah.

DAVIS: You moved on to the video.

STEWART: And it weighs about 10 pounds.

PESCA: It's only playing that first Hooties & the Blowfish album.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Hooties.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Mine is the number 2 most e-mailed from the Washington Post. Thirteen percent of the collection at the Library of Congress is misplaced. Apparently, people just put the books back in the wrong place on the shelf. They couldn't find - 17 percent of the materials requested could not be found.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: So now, apparently, today, it's somebody's job to go back and put all the books in order in the Library of Congress.

PESCA: The "Chicken Soups for the Soul" series has got to be especially flummoxing.

STEWART: Yeah, have some respect from papers from the Constitution. Put them back in the right place.

PESCA: Here's the most commented-upon article in USA Today. It's an article that says that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going into the next decade -with interest - will cost, according to the Congressional Budget Office, $2.4 trillion. Now one comment was, I can think of nothing we could better spend our money on, and that was posted to buy a guy named Nick Fury, named after the cartoon character. But I was thinking, what does $2.4 trillion really get you?

STEWART: A two-bedroom on 72nd Street in Manhattan.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Let's contextualize $2.4 trillion. I got a couple of them, but let's start off. Let's say - let's go to the Forbes 400 list. Let's say you added Bill Gates' net worth, a little over 50 billion. You added that to Warren Buffet's net worth, a little under $50 billion, and you kept going down. Do you know how many people on the Forbes 400 list you'd have to add up before you got to 2.4 trillion?

STEWART: How many, Pesca?

PESCA: You wouldn't even get there. The whole 400 doesn't even equal 2.4 trillion.

STEWART: Wow.

PESCA: You could buy 2,000 Golden Gate Bridges for $2.4 trillion. Anyone else want to help me with context?

STEWART: Dan?

DAN PASHMAN: Yeah, I got one here for you, Mike. If you took $2.4 trillion and put it into pennies, you'd have so many pennies…

STEWART, PESCA: How many pennies would you have?

PASHMAN: Thanks, Mike. That was for you. You know, so many pennies that you could fill the Empire State Building with pennies 132 times.

PESCA: Geez…

STEWART: That's amazing.

PESCA: After time 11, you got to really…

STEWART: And you know what's even more amazing?

PESCA: What?

STEWART: Tell people how you figured that out, Dan.

PASHMAN: There's a Web site that calculates how many pennies would fill various large buildings.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: We'll enter it on the blog. It's called the Mega Penny Project.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: My favorite part of the story.

PASHMAN: Yeah.

PESCA: You got one, Alison?

STEWART: I - during the break, I couldn't even figure how many million were in a trillion. I'm like, okay, Mike, is it 100 million? I'm not sure.

PESCA: Try to get a handle on the number of zeros out there.

STEWART: I was an English and American literature major.

ILYA MARRITZ: Hey, here's one for you. This is Ilya. You know, Halloween season is coming up. I was just searching how much we spend on candy every year. It's about 2 billion. So that means we would be celebrating Halloween for the next 120 years.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARRITZ: If we just gave up candy for the 120 years, we could pay for this war.

PESCA: Divide it by rotten teeth and…

MARRITZ: Right, and…

PESCA: …we got something.

MARRITZ: …actually a bit, yeah, there's a gain if we knock off maybe 20 years.

PESCA: You know, the Interstate Highway System adjusted in current dollars? It costs like $425 billion. We could buy six of them - six interstate highway systems.

STEWART: I only need four.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Matt?

MATT MARTINEZ: Yes?

PESCA: Let's go on to some other Most thing.

MARTINEZ: Other Most things. This is the number one most e-mailed story at npr.org. It's a piece by Wade Goodwyn that aired yesterday on MORNING EDITION. And it's about the deputy mayor of Dallas, Dwaine Caraway, trying to get people to pull their pants up because they're sagging. You know, they wear the saggy pants. They got the saggy pants. And Caraway says it's not just a teenage problem, that there are actually people in their 30s who are wearing saggy pants. And instead of creating a law that would arrest people for wearing saggy pants and showing their underwear and all that sort of thing, they created a public service rap song by Dooney Da Priest. And this is what it sounds like.

(Soundbite of song, "Pull Your Pants Up")

DOONEY DA PRIEST (Rapper): (Rapping) Yeah.

Unidentified Group: (Rapping) Pull 'em up, pull 'em up, pull 'em up.

DOONEY DA PRIEST: Be a real man. Stand up. Is that your underwear, man? Pull your pants up. I'm a grown man on my ground, trying to (unintelligible) soul and you'll get mine. I think it's rude, but some of y'all think it cool, walking around showing your behind to other dudes. And this is (unintelligible) and generating real (unintelligible).

MARTINEZ: The number one most e-mailed story at npr.org. There it is.

STEWART: You know, I just heard Jay-Z is going back into retirement after hearing that. He's really concerned.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: All right. That does it for The Most today. Matt, Dan, Ilya, M.J., thanks so much.

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