It isn't running guns or dealing drugs, but surely there's a better way to make a living. Apparently the trials and tribulations that keep Britney Spears in the news are worth as much as $120 million to the US economy. This is according to an estimate by Portfolio magazine, which does not include any money that changes hands when she's actually singing. Putting her face on the cover of a tabloid, for example, can boost sales by a third—gossip alone accounts for about $75 million a year for TV, print and Internet outlets.
Britney Spears' life looks like a train wreck. To the Britney Industrial Complex, comprising everyone from paparazzi to perfume vendors, she is a gold mine. Whether she's shaving her head or battling for custody of her children, Britney seems to grow more fascinating (and to some people, more lucrative) every time she stumbles.
Multiply that by all the other troubled entertainers obsessing the world and you have a segment of GDP worth about as much as Washington's proposed tax rebates. Maybe George and Laura would do the country more good if they just let the twins run wild.
See "The Britney Economy" by Duff McDonald in Portfolio's February 2008 issue. Image from Wikimedia Commons.