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What $700 Billion Could Buy

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CBS/AP
The $700 Billion congressional rescue of Wall Street will cost every American $2,300 -- but there would be an abundance of alternatives if the measure fails to get through Congress, points out CBS News correspondent Michelle Gielan.

For instance, Dr. Evil could be stopped seven times from destroying the planet in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," since $100 billion is the amount the villain demanded not to do the evil deed.

What else?

In New York, they're building another Yankee Stadium. You could buy 538 of them. Or maybe you'd rather buy every team in Major League Baseball. You could do that 50 times over.

How about a 50-inch flat screen TV for every man, woman, and child in the U.S?

Or how about two tall lattes from Starbucks for everyone in America, twice a day, every day for a year!

Seven hundred billion dollars could pay college tuition for four million people. Or you could give every student in America an Apple laptop, seven times over. Or why not just buy the company? You could do that four times over.

Forget about "Breakfast at Tiffany's"; Why not buy the entire place and everything inside? You could do that 175 times."

Try this one: a full tank of gas for every American for a year.

Economist Ann Lee notes that is roughly five percent of U.S. GDP. That's like the sum of all transactions that happen in the United States. This is -- we're talking about a lot of money."

Lee spent a decade trading on Wall Street, and says she believes any rescue investment funds should go to places other than Wall Street.

"Clearly," says Lee, "we need to shrink the system take some of the talent in our country and put them in industries like in science and technology to develop real products with real value."

That sentiment was shared by people Gielan approached on the streets of Manhattan.

"I would spread it out," said one woman, "so everyone can be happy that's what I would be doing."

Paying off everyone's credit card bill would be one way to spread that money around. Of course Congress would have to add another $250 billion to the total, since our credit card debt is now at a record $950 Billion.