For the price of the Iraq War, we could buy everyone in Nancy Pelosi's district two dozen roses each hour since George Bush announced that he would try to privatize Social Security in his second term.
On November 5, 2004, President Bush announced that his re-election had given him "political capital" and named Social Security privatization as the first thing on which he would spend it. He proposed a plan that would invest Social Security funds in the stock market, which has fallen over 10% since then. Nancy Pelosi, then the new House Minority Leader, pulled her beleaguered party together so that 201 of the 202 Democrats in the House opposed the plan. Without the possibility of bipartisan cover, Republican support for privatization crumbled.
Pelosi has 639,088 constituents. Two dozen roses in the "Double Touch of Elegance" bouquet cost $120 at 1-800-FLOWERS. Buying each of her constituents two dozen roses each hour since November 5 would cost $2.65 trillion, or $350 billion less than Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes' estimate of $3 trillion for the total cost of the Iraq War.