Last week Tim Blixseth, the timber and real estate billionaire who also happens to be the proprietor of the ultra-exclusive Yellowstone Club near Big Sky, captured our imaginations, and earned our envious disgust, with the news that he’s building the world’s most expensive home—on spec—on a 160-acre slice of Montana heaven.

For a mere $155 million, the planned 10-bedroom, 53,000-square-foot mega-mansion known as “The Pinnacle” could be yours. Imagine arriving at your new weekend getaway in the dead of winter and finding heated walkways and driveways, your own private gondola to whisk you off to the ski hill, an 8,000-bottle wine cellar in the basement, a 30-car garage, an indoor/outdoor pool, three elevators and hand-carved fireplace mantles in every room…

No, we can’t quite imagine it either. It’s hard to wrap our heads around the idea of $155 million worth of anything, much less a private vacation home.

So in an effort to try to comprehend how the other half lives, we went looking for examples of how that money could otherwise be spent.

For the price of Blixseth’s dream home, you could provide a year’s worth of clothing, medical care, educational support, youth programs, dental care, nutritional aid and family assistance for 587,121 needy children through Children International.

For $155 million you could purchase 36 Wilma Theatres.

It would take a Montana teacher making the state’s average annual wage 4,168 years to earn $155 million. If you owned the Los Angeles Galaxy, you could pay three years of international soccer star David Beckham’s five-year $250 million salary. If the other football is more your thing, you could purchase about half of the 70,000 tickets to the Super Bowl, based on the $5,115-per-ticket average reported by SeatSmart.com.

For less than the cost of The Pinnacle you could buy the Department of Defense a new F/A-22 Raptor—the most expensive fighter jet in history at $133 million— leaving enough change for fuzzy dice and racing stripes.

But while $155 million might seem like a lot of money to folks like us, who couldn’t afford the insurance premiums on even one of the 30 cars The Pinnacle’s garage will likely hold, the fact is that Americans are collectively spending far more than that every day, half a world away. For the asking price of Blixseth’s Montana trophy home you could pay for about 15 hours of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. After your 15 hours were up, though, you’d have to take out a second mortgage.

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