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11 Things That Would Have Cost Less Than The US Government Shutdown

Steven Perlberg
Seaside heights roller coaster demolished

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

It only took 16 days, but the government shutdown managed to sap $24 billion out of the economy, according to S&P.

That's $1.5 billion a day.

"The bottom line is the government shutdown has hurt the U.S. economy," the S&P wrote. "Since our forecast didn't hold, we now have to lower our fourth-quarter growth estimate to closer to 2%."

$24 billion is a lot of money to willfully drain from the economy.

So in order to make sure Washington doesn't let this happen again, we thought we'd give a roundup of what Congress could have purchased instead.

  1. Almost 1.5 NASAs.  NASA's 2014 budget is  $16.6 billion .
  2. Sent 554,413 kids to private college.  The college board estimates it costs an average  $43,289 .
  3. Or 1,078,119 kids to college in their home state.  That costs an average  $22,261  according to the College Board.
  4. Every American could get 15 $5 Footlongs from Subway.  That's 4.8 billion sandwiches.
  5. Buy everyone in India a single long-stem rose from 1-800-Flowers.com.  India has a population of 1.2 billion.
  6. 11 days worth of Social Security.  The U.S. spent  $773 billion  on Social Security in the fiscal year 2012.
  7. Paid for the damage of Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Frances combined.  2004's Hurricanes Frances and Charley cost $9.85 billion and $15.1 billion , respectively.
  8. Purchasing homes for 87,944 "average" Americans. The average new home price in the U.S. is  $272,900, according to the 2010 Census.
  9. Purchasing 8.3 billion free school lunches for children. Under the National School Lunch Program, the government reimburses a school $2.86 (or more) for a free lunch.
  10. Buy 7.1 billion gallons of gas for Americans. The average gas price right now is $3.36.
  11. Screening 1,41,176,470 women for breast cancer for free. The average cost of a mammogram is around the Medicare rate, $170, though of course prices vary based on location and insurance.  

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