The EPA budget for 2014 came out to 7.89 billion dollars, that may seem like quite a bit, but to gain some perspective on where our priorities are at, here are a few things on a consumer level we spend more on per year… some will blow your mind.
1. Diamonds: $27 Billion
Diamonds are forever, at least in the near future anyways. The U.S. accounts for 40% of diamond industry revenue at $27 billion dollars per annum, with China catching up quickly and no end in sight.
2. Lottery Tickets: $59 Billion
Americans sure want to get lucky. Unfortunately, the payout for lotto tickets is drastically lower than the amount the states take in, and only a portion of the $59 Billion is ever seen again in the hands of the ticket buyers.
3. Credit Card Interest: $49 Billion
Please, watch how much you spend. At least the lottery money goes back into the hands of the state governments to fund public policy, credit card interest just goes right back to wall street. All $49 billion dollars worth.
4. Fast Food: $117 Billion
$117 billion per year to Ronald, The Coronel, and Jack among others. The fast food industry knows how to eat up the cash.
5. Gambling: $92 Billion
Considering there is an entire city dedicated to it in the middle of a desert, the billions of dollars spent on gambling per year comes at no surprise.
6. Booze: $162 Billion
Beer, wine and liquor sales combined forms $162 Billion of alcohol per annum spending. This simply takes into consideration the direct purchase costs, and less the health, damage, and rehabilitation costs that come later for those of us who like to indulge in five too many drinks.
7. Specialty Coffee: $18 Billion
From Starbucks to Peet’s to Keurigs, we spend a lot on our specialty cups of morning joe.
8. Uneaten Food: $165 Billion
Food waste has been an issue for quite a while in the U.S., and a very hard one to solve. The $165 billion is of course an educated estimate, but just think about how many leftovers are thrown away, it does not seem to far off.
9. Soda: $47 Billion
Not only do we spend a lot directly on soda, but the healthcare on diabetes and obesity that are assisted by excessive soda drinking cost hundreds of billions per year.
10. Overdraft Fees: $32 Billion
More billions into the hands of bankers.
**11. Wasted Energy: $146 Billion **
The $146 billion is a number that assumes that one third of the energy is wasted that gets paid for (estimated by Energy Star).
12. Illegal Drugs: ~$100 Billion
An educated estimate by the RAND corporation put the illegal drug market at around $100 billion in the U.S., which is not including the drug war or incarceration costs which likely match it.
**13. Candy: $29 Billion **
Dentists will not be out of a job anytime soon with $29 billion being spent on everything from Snickers bars to Sour Patch Kids.
14. Tobacco: $44 Billion
Big tobacco rakes it in at over $44 billion per year in the U.S. without sight of a significant decline anytime in the near future.
15. Health Costs Directly Related to Tobacco: $96 Billion
Although the U.S. taxes cigarettes quite heavily, it by no means makes up for the economic costs of 6 million smokers dying of lung cancer and other diseases per year, that have been shown to have direct causal effects with smoking.
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