Related: Politics, Social Issues

$482 BILLION

 
 

Quick:  what does One Billion look like?dollar.gif

1,000,000,000

One Billion What?  Seconds?

1,000,000,000 seconds = 16,666,666 minutes = 277,777 hours = 11,574 days = 31.7 years

One Billion Dollars?

$1,000,000,000 = 20,000 years of earning $50,000 per year.

If you get a raise to $100,000 per year, it will take you only 10,000 years to earn One Billion Dollars.

How long does it take the Federal Government to spend $1,000,000,000?  ’bout one hour, depending on who’s counting, all spending considered.

What’s this math exercise all about?

Well, if you think ONE billion is a lot, consider 482 billion — dollars.

Last week the White House Budget Director forecast a $482 Billion budget deficit in the next federal fiscal year.  Folks, I’m no economist, but that is one big hole.  The deficit is the gap between the revenue the government brings in (our taxes) and the expenses the government incurs.   Just like somebody who goes out and buys stuff she can’t afford and puts it all on plastic (hmmm… know anybody like that?), Uncle Sam is spending more than he can afford right now — and who is going to pay that bill when the creditors start calling? We, the people, of course — we are the government, and we fund government expenses through the tax system.

So, shouldn’t we pay a little more attention to this reckless spending?  What’s causing this huge deficit (the budget had a surplus eight years ago, but has been in a growing deficit position since 2001)…??  For starters, consider that the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing obscene amounts of our tax dollars, roughly $1 billion a week — nearly $600 billion in total soon.  One economist has forecast that the wars will wind up costing  $3 TRILLION before it’s all over. 

My little $5 cheapo calculator from Staples can’t go up to a trillion.  It had a hard time with a billion.  I may need a bigger calculator soon.

Most of us are not economists, and many of us might prefer to skip over all those headache-inducing economic headlines to turn right to the more important news of earthquakes or whatever madness Amy Winehouse is into right now.

We have to get a grip.  The most important news of this era is the catastrophic state of the national and world economy, and even more serious, how the current and future presidents of the United States are going to exert some leadership to get back on track.  I believe that restoring balance to our economy is the #1 issue that the presidential candidates must address.  We should demand a “cease and desist” on all silly news about them and their spouses and their occasional gaffes.  We-the-people need to get serious about this business of self-governance, starting with expecting our leaders to have the wisdom, talent and sheer guts necessary to make the tough decisions necessary to restore economic health — starting with imposing discipline on the federal budget, reducing the deficit and national debt.

Think $482 billion is a big number?  That’s just the budget deficit for next year.  The National Debt (accumulated deficit + all the money we have borrowed) is $9 TRILLION and growing….  Pay attention.  This debt is the legacy our government is leaving for future generations.

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: president@trinitydc.edu