Courtesy Houston Chronical

Enough $100 bills to fill 22 Astrodomes

News accounts on the latest federal budget deal gave the numbers in a vacuum, e.g., “The deal cuts $38 billion from last year’s budget. It’s being called the largest domestic spending cut in U.S. history” (source). How can an individual voter make sense of quantities that are ordinarily written in scientific notation? I think the easiest way is to divide everything by 100,000,000 (10^8).

Let’s start with federal spending. The FY 2011 federal budget is approximately $3.82 trillion (3.82×10^12). Of that, approximately $2.17 trillion will be paid for by taxes collected and the remaining $1.65 trillion will be borrowed from our grandchildren. If we divide everything by 100 million, the numbers begin to make more sense.

We have a family that is spending $38,200 per year. The family’s income is $21,700 per year. The family adds $16,500 in credit card debt every year in order to pay its bills. After a long and difficult debate among family members, keeping in mind that it was not going to be possible to borrow $16,500 every year forever, the parents and children agreed that a $380/year premium cable subscription could be terminated. So now the family will have to borrow only $16,120 per year.




  1. SimonSezz says:

    See that little slice left in the comic, “Stuff that benefits me personally”? It seems like the Republicans want to cut that out (social security, medicaid, and medicare).

  2. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Hey Al? Why are conservatives always on the wrong side of social and economic history?

    When Clinton raised taxes at the start of his presidency, without one Republican vote, they all said it would destroy the economy.

    Wrong.

    When Bush gave huge tax cuts to the wealthy the same dummies said it would spur the economy.

    Wrong again.

    So why do we even listen to these bozos?

  3. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    Ah yes, the roaring 20’s…a decade that set the foundation for a long period of growth and stability.

    Al, you need to turn off that AM radio because it’s apparently filling your head with dog shit.

  4. bobbo, the Rebuplicans want to Kill America says:

    #43–chuck==you are right that the reason Obama is in trouble with his “base” is that he is too much “Bush Light” but like too many Pukes, you overstate the case to feel smug. And yet:

    Obamacare is surely the “hallmark” legislation of Obama’s tenure so far. As different as black and white wouldn’t you say?

    Declares that torture is over – let’s all hope so?

    No unilateral invasions of other countries – so far?

    What about his pledge not to privatize social services?

    Only simple minded retards trying to gain cover for their social agenda try to push the idea that Obaman/Bush or Dems/Pukes or America/Russia or Slavery/Taxation are “the same.” Any two issues have elements in common but the only “thing” that is the same as Bush is Bush–or maybe Bush/Bag of Shit.

    I challenge anyone to set forth the argument that the Super Rich need more tax cuts while the poor, working, and middle classes need service cuts. Go ahead: make that argument.

    If not, Wake Up Fools. The Republicans want to Kill America but they can’t do it without your vote.

    Been about a week now, no takers. Heh, heh. I think the next budget fight will be about the same===leading to government shut down and the sky falling down. Sad when the Teabaggers want to substitute dogma for policy. Cutting spending is needed–refusal to raise taxes is retarded.

  5. msbpodcast says:

    You want to balance the budget, go back to the 1950’s budget.

    No FDA, no DEA, no ATF, no NASA, no HEW, no DHA, no INS, no TSA, no military budget increases, no transportation safety administration, no subsidies, no tax breaks.

    Literally rewind the clock back to 1950 and leave it there until the debt is paid off.

    But to generate income, there would be the IRS, at 1950 tax levels, until all the debt has been paid back.

    Oh and by the way, the salaries of all the congress-critters would go back to their 1950 levels.

  6. msbpodcast says:

    in #35 Taxed Enough Already Dude said, and I just love reading phrases like: “much better private enterprise solutions available.”

    Name me one, just one, single private enterprise program which is dedicated to promoting my retiring in peace, quiet and prosperity.

    It ain’t private insurance, which only makes money if I die quickly.

    Don’t wave a 401k form at me cause the 401k’s ate my savings years ago. I just watched helpless as they lost money. I couldn’t even do anything about it because while they were dwindling toward zero, the tax man was just waiting for me and he was going to charge me every dime he could get, even if it was more that my 401k was worth.

    Not everything is a private enterprise problem and not everything has a private enterprise solution.

    Just look at the deteriorating state of the nation’s infrastructure.

    Privatization just means delayed maintenance until something falls off and kills somebody.

  7. Dallas says:

    Gotta love the self proclaimed spend thrift loons recommending government be the size of ancient times.

    At the same time, the notion of reducing the military from $800,000,000,000 (each year) is out of the question. The thought of increasing the wealthy tax rate by a lousy 3% caused pandemonium.

    Pedro has already accepted responsibility and shame in voting for Bush, twice. The rest of you sheeple need to do the same.

  8. LibertyLover says:

    I just got my tax bill in. $55,000 for last year.

    Guess I won’t be remodeling the house (green AC unit, better insulation, painting, flooring, furniture, etc). Poor contractors will miss out on some work.

    But I guess it’s better the government has the money and not the people who could use the work.

    Maybe they can go on welfare and get my money that way — after the government takes their 25% handling fee.

    I guess raising taxes DOES increase jobs. For the tax men, at least.

  9. LibertyLover says:

    #50, BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

    This from the guy who is DEFENDING OBAMA for invading a country using some of that $800B.

    Again, BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

  10. Pays2Think says:

    Many good comments and many ignorant fools. Seems like the bottom line is, we are all wasting our time unless we get campaign finance reform
    Everybody that runs for office gets a fixed amount from the government funded by taxes. No Corporate money, no spending your own money, no PAC’s, no Private money, no text messaging money, no foreign money, etc. just the election allowance.

    Oh and one more thing…… No electronic voting machines. Paper ballots and electric counters.

    Now that would be fun to watch…

  11. bobbo, the Rebuplicans want to Kill America says:

    #51–LazyDumbshitFreeloader==why don’t you get another job? Exactly the self centered short sighted LIEberTARD point of view rendering you voter fodder for the Pukes.

    I challenge LOSER and anyone else to set forth the argument that the Super Rich need more tax cuts while the poor, working, and middle classes need service cuts. Go ahead: make that argument.

    If not, Wake Up Fools. The Republicans want to Kill America but they can’t do it without your vote.

    I’m looking right at YOU Loser: “I’ve got mine, screw you.”

  12. bobbo, the Rebuplicans want to Kill America says:

    Gee Alfie==you missed a chance to call Obama a progressive or a Muslim or a Kenyan or all three?

    Now==we all know who initiates governmental spending don’t we? ((YOU do don’t you?)) and we all know who controls that body don’t we? ((You do don’t you?))

    Poor old dumb Alfie–got his hate going off in so many directions, he shoots his own ass off.

    Hah, hah. Wake Up Fools. The Republicans want to Kill America but they can’t do it without you voting just like Alfie does!

  13. G2 says:

    #54->Wow, LL really hit a nerve with you.

    I’ll take your challenge if you can tell me why it is better to give $55k to the government instead of hiring local contractors and putting them to work.

  14. tcc3 says:

    #58- Because that $55k to the government goes to pay for his fair share of things like roads, schools, fire, police, military, etc.

    $55k in upgrades to his house benefits LibertyLover, the contractor and a few laborers. It has an effect, for sure but what about the rest of that important stuff up there?

    And that’s assuming he just doesn’t spend the money on hookers and blow.

    Bottom line is that he made enough money to pay $55k in taxes. He’s not exactly living hand to mouth. Suck it up and pay your share of the society that enabled that wealth. I did, and so did millions of other American taxpayers.

  15. G2 says:

    #59->roads, schools, fire, and police are taken out of local property taxes, which I assume he has to pay if he is remodeling a house. I assume he was talking about federal taxes.

    “$55k in upgrades to his house benefits LibertyLover, the contractor and a few laborers”

    It’s actually benefiting the contractor and the laborers and the local economy more than the federal government. LL pays sales tax on the work and materials. The local contractors pay taxes, they buy goods at the local Wally-World with their money and they eat at local restaurants. Now, none of this happens.

    The government gives the money to the Wall Street Banksters.

    You have failed to convince me.

  16. LibertyLover says:

    G2, Give it up. You’ll never convince those who believe they are owed a living by the Nanny State.

  17. chuck says:

    #59 so the assumption is, the LLs’ $55K is put to better use by the government to build roads, schools, etc, than by LL to get his kitchen remodeled?

    By that logic, we should all pay 100% of our income to the government. We are clearly too stupid to know what to spend it on properly and only our betters can make those decisions for us.

  18. deowll says:

    According to a couple of congress critters, creatures not noted for telling the truth I admit, for 600,000,000 we could control the border with Mexico. A location that means more to my than Libya.

    How much have we spent there? Er, 600,000,000 and growing.

    I have a plan for cutting military spending. Don’t start any more wars! Get out of Iraq! Get out of Afghanistan! Tell the Pakistanis to do what ever they want in their country. We aren’t going to give them any more money!

  19. bobbo, the Rebuplicans want to Kill America says:

    #58–G2==thank you. first poster in a week to take a stab at the question, and its a “fair” counter.

    tcc3 got the main response and your counter to that is fair as well? And I must say that the gov giving the money to the Banksters is almost a win? BUT how did the Banksters come so close to World Financial Meltdown that could have cost LL his job? Thats right, failure of the Fed’s to adequately monitor and regulate the Market Place. Without this “unseen and unfelt” proper role of government, everyone’s hard work will go to nefarious purposes and evil ends. Its shortsighted and ignorant to think our lives just occur because of our own efforts and luck. Our lives are very much directed by the efforts, good and bad, of government. Government sets the stage, we are but actors upon that stage……..

    So “the answer” is a little deeper than the first 3-4 layers of the onion. What does it take for a society to function? Does that question even get addressed by ONLY looking at one’s own immediate needs and desires? No.

    But tcc3 hit that nail on the head too: “Suck it up and pay your share of the society that enabled that wealth.” /// Yea, verily.

    Like a monkey with his hand in the cookie jar: only able to understand what his hand is on and not what is required for success.

    Silly Hoomans.

  20. G2 says:

    #65->I didn’t understand a single thing you said. OH, I understood the words, but you didn’t offer anything other than rehashed statements by others. Maybe I missed something but I am willing to read another post by you if you want to attempt your response again.

    For instance, your response was inconsistent. On one hand, you stated that my response to tcc3 was fair but then flipped and gave a resounding confirmation to his suggestion to paying his fair share.

    So, which is it? Is it better to give the money to the Banksters (his “share” then going to them) or hire local help which means keeping the money in the economy?

  21. Mr. Fusion says:

    #66
    Is it better to give the money to the Banksters (his “share” then going to them) or hire local help which means keeping the money in the economy?

    Since SOME of the federal tax money went to big banks you don’t want ANY tax money to go to the Federal Government. Instead, you want it to go to local contractors who are too often: illegal immigrants, hire illegal immigrants, do shoddy work, are unqualified, are con-men in disguise, use substandard materials, leave work unfinished and vanish, …

    Gee, let’s paint every dollar with the same brush. Not EVERY tax dollar goes to any one target. While few people are happy with TARP, most of that money has been repaid with interest. Yet to suggest YOU shouldn’t have to contribute to the running of this country or it’s betterment is simple hubris.

    Remodeling your kitchen is NOT a better way of using your tax dollars. All that does is move the burden to other people. I know, Liebertarians prefer to live the bohemian lifestyle where they use none of society’s utilities. Only, they do. That kitchen remodeling used many utilities society has devised to make our lives better and more economical. The roads that transported the trees to the mill – tax payer money. The border defense that prevented Canadians from coming in and stealing all the trees – tax supported. The railroad that carried the lumber to LL’s house – grant money and concessions. The protection of law enforcement to reduce theft – more tax money. The nearby fire department in case of fire – tax money. And when LL’s kitchen is done, the sewer and water hookup will be to, you guessed it – tax funded systems. His garbage produced in his new kitchen will be removed by trucks using – yup those tax supported roads, possibly even by a tax supported garbage truck.

    Society is for all of us. Liebertarians are only for themselves.

  22. Mr. Fusion says:

    #56, Alphie,

    Until progressives have some skin in the game, actually pay taxes, I think they should shut up and thank us taxpayers for supporting them.

    We are waiting to hear you thank us for carrying your fat ass all these years. In the past you admitted you drove an unlicensed taxi. That means no permit and no declared income yet a user of society’s utilities. A true scofflaw that wants to lecture others.

  23. jman says:

    holy crap you liberal morons just don’t get it do you?

    Your govt is spending 1.5 trillion more than they make EVERY YEAR!!

    All you can say is tax the rich but please don’t cut spending on baby killing, those babies really need to be killed!

    You could tax the rich and corporations 100%, take all their money, think of the hard on that would give dallass and bobbo! and you still couldn’t pay the debt from just this year!!!

  24. smartalix says:

    Raise taxes back to the levels of CLinton’s administration and most of this problem goes away.

    But then again, since the teachers, firefighter, and police unions caused the financial meltdown it is only right we balance the budget on their backs while giving the top of the income heap gifts.

  25. G2 says:

    #67->Most of what you described is handled out of local taxes, not federal taxes. See #60.

    But I still haven’t seen a rational argument, just some racist accusation on the nationality of the contractors, as to why the local economy shouldn’t benefit from the windfall instead of sending it to DC.

    Would you be just as happy if only half of that went to DC and the rest was local?

    What is the local government to do when they can’t afford to pay for the roads or the police or the firemen or any of the other local services because those contractors don’t have the money to pay the local taxes?

    This is job creation at the most basic level and you think it is a bad thing?

    Or do you think that only the government knows how to create jobs?

    How do you know he isn’t living in a 60 year old house and needs to upgrade it?

    Is he supposed to hire federal government workers to come in and do it for him?

    Or apply for a grant from the federal government to pay to get it done?

    How is he supposed to get it done?

  26. LibertyLover says:

    #72, Or do you think that only the government knows how to create jobs?

    Bingo. People aren’t allowed to think for themselves. That would be bad. Now just go do your job. They’ll take care of everything else.

    And for the record, it is a 33 year old house.

  27. bobbo, the Rebuplicans want to Kill America says:

    #66–G2==another “fair” response. Let me continue to coax you along via the wonderfully direct parse:

    #65->I didn’t understand a single thing you said. /// I believe you. Spend a week in a teepee on hallucinogens and read it again.

    OH, I understood the words, /// I assumed that, such is the level of your fairness

    but you didn’t offer anything other than rehashed statements by others. /// Well, thats demonstrably wrong. Just LOOK, Maw, Just look. Or are you that blind only able to read the words you agree with?

    Maybe I missed something /// yea verily. Read the words before and after what you say is merely regurgitated

    but I am willing to read another post by you if you want to attempt your response again. /// Forward, always forward. Into the Valley of Death rode the 500.

    For instance, your response was inconsistent. On one hand, you stated that my response to tcc3 was fair but then flipped and gave a resounding confirmation to his suggestion to paying his fair share. /// I characterize your response as “fair” because it was not Alfie stupid. If you had said: “All taxation is direct tyranny because the government takes the money by threat of or actual force.” Then I probably would have just called you an idiot and moved on. But you are one step removed from being an idiot and that makes responding to you a fair exercise. And by “you” I mean every other half baked self centered short sighted liebertard who might happen upon this thread looking for me to get squashed by your command of the subject.

    So, which is it? Is it better to give the money to the Banksters (his “share” then going to them) or hire local help which means keeping the money in the economy? //// Whenever given a choice, I always say both. Define better? Money is fungible. Your alternative is what? Expert opinion is about evenly divided that the stimulus should have been more especially given so much of it was tax cuts and pork. Many branches to follow.

    To follow your initial shaping: re read Mr Fusion as well. A most excellent reality based instruction.

  28. MikeN says:

    House passed a budget that reforms entitlements and cuts spending to levels of 2006, back when the country was so different, and babies were being tossed into the street along with grandma out of her wheelchair and the homeless.

  29. MikeN says:

    Not just Obama that punted on the budget problems in hid speech yesterday. Democrats all voted present on the Republican budget, hoping to keep Paul Ryan’s budget from being voted on by getting an alternative budget passed.

  30. G2 says:

    #74->”Define better?”

    Oh, for crying out loud. What do you think I meant? Don’t play me for the fool.

    Should the local government benefit from having someone pump money into their economy or should the federal government get it?

    This is not a hypothetical question on some alternate universe. This is today’s federal government, your local town.

    Where do you think the money would best be spent?


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