I'm going to get off New Agers today (but don't worry, I'll be back) and revisit the economic crises we seem to be amidst. Specifically, let's talk federal budget deficit...again.
While reading through several articles this weekend concerning recent job loss news, more stimulus plans and a swelling budget deficit, I came across one article in particular that made me stop and think...wow, that is really scary!
President Obama has already warned - "Potentially we've got trillion-dollar deficits for years to come, even with the economic recovery that we are working on."
Trillions...years. Actually Mr. President, most analyst predict $1.2 trillion in 2009, but what's a couple of hundred billion here and there? What made my brain lock up like Windows Vista trying to multi-task, however, was the staggering analogy used to demonstrate what a trillion dollars looks like in terms we can all relate. Apparently, our minds just can't wrap around the concept of very, very large numbers. After all, it takes the same amount of time to write 1 million dollars, 1 billion dollars and 1 trillion dollars. Most people look at $1,000,000,000 when written out and initially proclaim it to be a trillion dollars. But the extra three 0's they're missing make a world of difference...and about 430 lifetimes.
David Schwartz, a children's book author whose How Much Is a Million? tries to wrap young minds around the concept- "One million seconds comes out to be about 11½ days. A billion seconds is 32 years. And a trillion seconds is 32,000 years. I like to say that I have a pretty good idea what I'll be doing a million seconds from now, no idea what I'll be doing a billion seconds from now, and an excellent idea of what I'll be doing a trillion seconds from now."
Now that you've rebooted, let's look at how the $1 trillion gets spinned by the people doing the spending. According to the Office of Budget and Management, $1 trillion divided by the 300 million people in the United States comes to $3,333 per person. Well...yes there is $99 million missing from this governmental equation...but they can't worry about amounts under $1 billion (someone needs to pass that memo to the IRS). Since the average person in our country carries a credit card balance of $3245, government debt is very similar to what the average person is doing.
Here's another good one but pertaining to the bailout. The $700 billion bailout translates into $45 per week for each American man, woman and child. Going one step further, it comes out to $6 a day. Six dollars a day is also 25 cents an hour, or less than half a penny a minute. Would you be willing to pay less than half a penny a minute to save our economy?
Well...okay... that doesn't sound too bad...but, my 1 year old and 13 year old are going to be pretty ticked when they get their $3,333 bill AND we take their credit cards away.
So much for a happy 2009.