The four-day old government shutdown (or as Fox News has dubbed it, "slimdown") has already had an impact on the lives of the 800,000 federal employees who've been forced to stay home.
It's also caused the stock market to reverse course, made stars out of a group of barricade-crashing WWII veterans and has possibly blocked young cancer patients from getting into clinical drug trials.
And on top of all that, research firm IHS Inc. has estimated that the shutdown will cost the U.S. $300 million a day in lost economic output. In other words, as of Saturday(October 5), more than $1.2 billion already, which is nothing to sneeze at.
Which got us thinking: What good could $1.2 billion do?
The average annual salary for a Teach for America member is $41,194, meaning you could pay the salaries of nearly 30,000 TFA teachers as of right now.
Save A Life
If you're looking to do some good, the fine folks at NothingButNets.net have plenty of ways for you to donate money to purchase insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which would help save the life of the one child who dies from malaria every second around the planet. Each net costs just $10 to purchase, deliver and educate the recipient on its use, which translates into 120,000,000 nets and lives saved.
The cost of a four-year college education is out of reach for many underprivileged Americans. But the average cost of a community college education is $6,780 a year, which means that more than 176,000 high school seniors could get a shot at attending community college for a year with the money that has been taken out of the economy through today.
Plan A Holiday
In an effort to show what we can do when we work together, that $1.2 billion is enough to send 554,000 students to Ecuador for 10 days of service work with United Planet during Christmas break.
According to the College Board, the average cost for books and supplies for the 2012-2013 school year was $1,200 at public colleges and $1,244 at private colleges. You could buy the books for one million public college freshman.
Grant A Wish
Though you can't put a price on making a child's dream come true, you could make a lot of dreams come true through the Make-A-Wish foundation. With an average cost of $7,500 each, that money could make 160,000 wishes come true, like helping a teenager get a chance to design his own race car for General Motors or stand in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower for the first time in her life.