Eisenhower charts of the day

By Felix Salmon
January 21, 2011
new book about Dwight Eisenhower. He asked for the most famous passage from Eisenhower's 1953 "cross of iron" speech to be turned into updated charts, so here you go:

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My fabulous editor, Jim Ledbetter, had a party a couple of days ago for his new book about Dwight Eisenhower. He asked for the most famous passage from Eisenhower’s 1953 “Chance for Peace” speech to be turned into updated charts, so here you go:

schools.png power.png
hospitals.png highway.png
wheat.png homes.png

Sources: The price of a bomber, according to the Air Force, is $1.2 billion in 1998 dollars, which works out to about $1.6 billion today. It costs $18.5 million to build a school. For the power plant, I’m assuming energy usage of 11.4 kW per person (obviously this is up sharply from 1953) and a cost for building a power plant of $1,050 per kW, which works out at about $700 million. Hospitals are coming in at about $260 million apiece. Highway costs are about $10 million per mile.

A fighter costs $150 million; a bushel of wheat is $8. Destroyers run about $1.75 billion apiece; and construction costs on a new single-family home are $222,511.

And here’s the passage in question, which still carries enormous force:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

This world in arms in not spending money alone.

It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.

It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.

It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals.

It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.

We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat.

We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.

This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.

This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

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