What can you buy with $50 billion?

To put the government’s anticipated budget deficit in context, we spent the money (theoretically) 13 ways

With the federal budget deficit expected to punch through the $50 billion mark this year, we wondered what one could buy with that kind of cash. Here’s what we came up with:

6.5 billion Big Mac combos
10 nuclear reactors
467 Nortel Networks
641 of the most expensive Ming Vase ever sold
520 Neverland Ranches
33 Yankee Stadiums
25 per cent of the Microsoft Corp.
235 Phoenix Coyote NHL franchises
71 Mona Lisas
1.2 billion copies of Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons (at the MSRP of $39.99)
A little more than one Bill Gates
5,000 large private islands in the Caribbean
50 million Julie Couillard dresses (or at least the low-cut number sold at auction in April)

Feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments below.




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What can you buy with $50 billion?

  1. To put this in perspective:

    in new $1000 bills, this would be a 5 kilometer line of $1000 bills stacked side by side.

  2. To put this amount into a form where we can visulize that amount of money, $50 Billion, here is one way to see it –

    If I were to give Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty $50 Billion at a rate of a dollar per second, if we could both stay awake for that long, it would take me 1,585.49 years or 15.86 Centuries to give out all $50 Billion.

  3. To put the government's anticipated budget deficit in context, we spent the money (theoretically) 13 ways.

    About that parenthetical "theoretically" sparing us the misimpression: Do you think we're that thick?

  4. But what would it be in envelopes in Right Honourable Safety Deposit Boxes?

  5. There is no such thing as a new $1000 bill, because that denomination was retired years ago. Also, your caclulation assumes that each bill is a millimetre thick, when in fact they are much thinner than that.

    I would go with a 5 kilometre line of stacked $100 bills instead ;-) .

  6. One million, six hundred sixty-six thousand, six hundred sixty-six and two thirds former prime ministers of Canada.

  7. Whichever is easier to load into helicopters for aerial distribution.

  8. A lot of wasted tax payer money LOL

  9. You almost got an "LOL" for that, CR, except for the scary thought that you're giving somebody ideas.

  10. Sorry to be a math pedant, but 50,000,000,000 / 300,000 = 166,667. You were off by a decimal.

  11. The net worth of Bill Gates.

  12. Gad, I'm completely out to lunch. Pretty impressive that you spotted it, though.

    It's hard to believe that $30 000 isn't enough to buy a former prime minister of Canada, come to think of it.

  13. Your denominator is the subject of sworn-testimony debate, CR. If the other end of the spectrun is to be believed, former PMs of Canada can be bought for a mere $225,000.

  14. myl, in that case we could theoretically buy the non-services of 222,222 former PMs for $50 billion. ;-)

  15. In a previous job I was paid lots of money to spot numerical errors like that one. It's become a reflex at this point. :)

  16. 222,222 and eleven fiftieths. No, no, don't thank me for that…

  17. To put this in perspective:
    in new $1000 bills, this would be a 5 kilometer line of $1000 bills stacked side by side.

    • There is no such thing as a new $1000 bill, because that denomination was retired years ago. Also, your caclulation assumes that each bill is a millimetre thick, when in fact they are much thinner than that.

      I would go with a 5 kilometre line of stacked $100 bills instead ;-) .

    • But what would it be in envelopes in Right Honourable Safety Deposit Boxes?

      • Whichever is easier to load into helicopters for aerial distribution.

        • You almost got an “LOL” for that, CR, except for the scary thought that you’re giving somebody ideas.

  18. Again, not to be a math pedant, but it's 222,222 and two ninths.

  19. To put this amount into a form where we can visulize that amount of money, $50 Billion, here is one way to see it –

    If I were to give Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty $50 Billion at a rate of a dollar per second, if we could both stay awake for that long, it would take me 1,585.49 years or 15.86 Centuries to give out all $50 Billion.

  20. To put the government’s anticipated budget deficit in context, we spent the money (theoretically) 13 ways.

    About that parenthetical “theoretically” sparing us the misimpression: Do you think we’re that thick?

    • Yah, but some of you are.

  21. One million, six hundred sixty-six thousand, six hundred sixty-six and two thirds former prime ministers of Canada.

    • Sorry to be a math pedant, but 50,000,000,000 / 300,000 = 166,667. You were off by a decimal.

      • Gad, I’m completely out to lunch. Pretty impressive that you spotted it, though.

        It’s hard to believe that $30 000 isn’t enough to buy a former prime minister of Canada, come to think of it.

        • In a previous job I was paid lots of money to spot numerical errors like that one. It’s become a reflex at this point. :)

      • Your denominator is the subject of sworn-testimony debate, CR. If the other end of the spectrun is to be believed, former PMs of Canada can be bought for a mere $225,000.

        • myl, in that case we could theoretically buy the non-services of 222,222 former PMs for $50 billion. ;-)

          • 222,222 and eleven fiftieths. No, no, don’t thank me for that…

          • Again, not to be a math pedant, but it’s 222,222 and two ninths.

          • D’oh! I thoroughly deserved that slap, for trying to be cute.

          • Sorry, myl, I meant it as a Poindexter-ish correction, not a slap. After all, your fraction was only off by two nine hundredths, and when we’re talking about former Prime Ministers, two nine hundredths isn’t much at all ;-)

          • You’re too kind. I will take this opportunity to slap myself, then, for trying to be too cute.

  22. A lot of wasted tax payer money LOL

  23. The net worth of Bill Gates.

  24. D'oh! I thoroughly deserved that slap, for trying to be cute.

  25. Sorry, myl, I meant it as a Poindexter-ish correction, not a slap. After all, your fraction was only off by two nine hundredths, and when we're talking about former Prime Ministers, two nine hundredths isn't much at all ;-)

  26. You're too kind. I will take this opportunity to slap myself, then, for trying to be too cute.

  27. Maximum EI for 2,237,136 participants

    just short of what's owed

  28. Feed a third world country or get them proper vaccinations, health care, even help with the homeless and starving in our own country. $50 billion could certainly put a dent in that.

  29. Maximum EI for 2,237,136 participants

    just short of what’s owed

  30. Feed a third world country or get them proper vaccinations, health care, even help with the homeless and starving in our own country. $50 billion could certainly put a dent in that.

    • Hi Ashley. The problem in the Third World isn't a lack of money. It's the corruption that misuses it. Until that's fixed, donations to the Third World will only keep the general populace barely alive while enriching the elite.

  31. For the “green minded” among us…

    40,000,000 solar photovoltaic panels. Installed.

    That could translate to 4,000,000 homes which, when not using all the power they produce, would be EARNING MONEY by feeding their power overgeneration back to the utility company, reducing the load on the power grid and allowing greater power export to the US, bringing a net GDP increase over time.

    1,428,571 COMPLETE photovoltaic home power systems with full battery backup, emergency generators, and a grid-tied configuration allowing excess power generation to be fed back to the grid. (Estimated $35,000.00 per system on average.)

    The above would mean that each of those 1.4 million homes would be TOTALLY SELF-RELIANT, and theoretically would NEVER be a drain on the power grid, but only a contributor when overages were sent back to the grid. Again, with a lower load on the grid, this would lower “wear and tear” on the system and extend it’s useful life, which would in turn lower long-term electricity costs for everyone. In the case of Ontario, this would also tranalate into earlier debt retirement from when the government destroyed Ontario Hydro (paid for with taxpayer money) and then sold it to private concerns (not returning taxpayer funds to them) and stuck taxpayers with the debt that the government ran up while bankrupting Ontario Hydro. (What a bargain, eh, folks?!)

    When you consider that all of the parts needed for the above ideas to be put into play can be manufactured in Canada, and all of the profits could remain in Canada as a result of such thinking, why hasn’t it already been done?

    Please note: At no time would any natural wetlands, migration paths, or other natural resources need to be destroyed in order to achieve these goals, unlike what is planned for Pigeon Bay in Leamington, Ontario at the present. (see: http://LakeErieWindTurbines.com for more info.) All that is required is the common sense and will to start doing the right thing…without respect to what government agency of multinational conglomerate profits from doing the wrong thing over and over and over and…

    • Quit being so optomistic. It's nauseating.

  32. We could buy back the Winnipeg Jets and The Quebec Nordiques. (Oh, fine, fine: the Pheonix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanches.
    We’d have enough left to buy a hockey team for Halifax, Regina and Hamilton- and still have enough to vaccinate every child in the world for polio.
    How’s that for perspective.

    • But could the maritime provinces keep their teams funded?

  33. For the “green minded” among us…

    40,000,000 solar photovoltaic panels. Installed.

    That could translate to 4,000,000 homes which, when not using all the power they produce, would be EARNING MONEY by feeding their power overgeneration back to the utility company, reducing the load on the power grid and allowing greater power export to the US, bringing a net GDP increase over time.

    1,428,571 COMPLETE photovoltaic home power systems with full battery backup, emergency generators, and a grid-tied configuration allowing excess power generation to be fed back to the grid. (Estimated $35,000.00 per system on average.)

    The above would mean that each of those 1.4 million homes would be TOTALLY SELF-RELIANT, and theoretically would NEVER be a drain on the power grid, but only a contributor when overages were sent back to the grid. Again, with a lower load on the grid, this would lower “wear and tear” on the system and extend it’s useful life, which would in turn lower long-term electricity costs for everyone. In the case of Ontario, this would also tranalate into earlier debt retirement from when the government destroyed Ontario Hydro (paid for with taxpayer money) and then sold it to private concerns (not returning taxpayer funds to them) and stuck taxpayers with the debt that the government ran up while bankrupting Ontario Hydro. (What a bargain, eh, folks?!)

    When you consider that all of the parts needed for the above ideas to be put into play can be manufactured in Canada, and all of the profits could remain in Canada as a result of such thinking, why hasn’t it already been done?

    Please note: At no time would any natural wetlands, migration paths, or other natural resources need to be destroyed in order to achieve these goals, unlike what is planned for Pigeon Bay in Leamington, Ontario at the present. (see: http://LakeErieWindTurbines.com for more info.) All that is required is the common sense and will to start doing the right thing…without respect to what government agency of multinational conglomerate profits from doing the wrong thing over and over and over and…

  34. We could buy back the Winnipeg Jets and The Quebec Nordiques. (Oh, fine, fine: the Pheonix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanches.

    We’d have enough left to buy a hockey team for Halifax, Regina and Hamilton- and still have enough to vaccinate every child in the world for polio.

    How’s that for perspective.

  35. 3,344,481,605 copies of Ezra Levant’s new book, Shakedown, with enough money left over for a coffee and a sandwich.

  36. 3,344,481,605 copies of Ezra Levant’s new book, Shakedown, with enough money left over for a coffee and a sandwich.

  37. 200 new “Colisée Pepsi” for the Quebec city franchise of NHL

  38. 200 new “Colisée Pepsi” for the Quebec city franchise of NHL

  39. We would probably have wasted it anyway

  40. We would probably have wasted it anyway

  41. i wonder if someone is wise enough to buy a 'robert ludlom'hero to put an end to all our corrupt politicians?

  42. i wonder if someone is wise enough to buy a 'robert ludlom'hero to put an end to all our corrupt politicians?

  43. Hi Ashley. The problem in the Third World isn't a lack of money. It's the corruption that misuses it. Until that's fixed, donations to the Third World will only keep the general populace barely alive while enriching the elite.

  44. Save the lives of about 1 Million children, every year for ever

  45. Save the lives of about 1 Million children, every year for ever

  46. Yah, but some of you are.

  47. One million savings accounts (on a very clean average) of a typical 'blue collar' civilian in north america.

  48. One million savings accounts (on a very clean average) of a typical 'blue collar' civilian in north america.

    • I got it…

      1250 fresh new MBTs ready to be shipped off to the middle east for killin' and what not.

  49. Or probably enough to pay off 50,000 hefty mortgages in threat of foreclosure.

    … That actually doesn't look like much.

  50. Or probably enough to pay off 50,000 hefty mortgages in threat of foreclosure.

    … That actually doesn't look like much.

  51. I got it…

    1250 fresh new MBTs ready to be shipped off to the middle east for killin' and what not.

  52. Quit being so optomistic. It's nauseating.

  53. But could the maritime provinces keep their teams funded?

  54. Just what I need to cover the projected rise in the fuel costs for my Topaz for the ten to 15 years I have left of driving!

  55. Just what I need to cover the projected rise in the fuel costs for my Topaz for the ten to 15 years I have left of driving!

  56. Builds enough safe homes & feeds the worlds homeless!

  57. Builds enough safe homes & feeds the worlds homeless!

  58. $50 billions… that's about the cost of the failed Long Gun Registry and Ontario's eHealth project put together… Or the final bill for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic

  59. $50 billions… that's about the cost of the failed Long Gun Registry and Ontario's eHealth project put together… Or the final bill for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic

  60. I would resolve the Palestanian question..

  61. I would resolve the Palestanian question..

  62. Open Source EHRs are free to work with — OpenEMR is one, MirrorMed is another. They are free to use, have upgrades that are being shared by many, and will continue to be dynamically growing. And they have the best shot of being truly interoperable over the long term. And yet I haven’t heard a word about it around them in this story. Why not? THAT is the real scandal in my mind!

  63. Open Source EHRs are free to work with — OpenEMR is one, MirrorMed is another. They are free to use, have upgrades that are being shared by many, and will continue to be dynamically growing. And they have the best shot of being truly interoperable over the long term. And yet I haven’t heard a word about it around them in this story. Why not? THAT is the real scandal in my mind!

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