THE BLOG
11/09/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What Could $700 Billion Buy?

With the recent passage of the banking industry bailout package, $700 billion is now a household figure. But what that amount of money could buy is not typical household knowledge. Here are a few examples from my recent story in Women"s eNews.

-- It could end world poverty for more than two years, according to Duncan Green, head of research for Oxfam Great Britain and author of the 2008 book "From Poverty to Power." He notes that it would cost $300 billion to lift every one of the world's 7 billion people above the $1/day poverty threshold for a year, according to the United Nations Development Program.

--About $150 billion each year could help governments meet the United Nations millennium development goals, a global set of anti-poverty guidelines, laid out by 189 nations in 2000, Green notes.

--The National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, a lobby in Washington, D.C., estimates that $759 million--about 1 percent of the rescue plan total--would enable the country's low-cost health care clinics to provide all eligible individuals with the full range of family planning services: access to contraceptives, counseling, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

--About $6 billion would cover the annual human, social, criminal and medical cost of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, according to the Washington-based National Network to End Domestic Violence.

--Another $13 billion a year would fully fund and expand government child care programs for low-income families, according to the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C. And about $15 billion a year would double the number of children receiving federal child care assistance, according to the center.

--On a larger scale, $90 billion would pay for a legislative package cutting domestic poverty in half over a decade, according to the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington, D.C. That package would expand tax credits for parents; increase college grants; provide housing assistance, food stamps and unemployment compensation; and increase the minimum wage.

Allison Stevens is Washington bureau chief of Women"s eNews.