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. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas. says:

    #78–G2==really? Haw, Haw. I take it you accept the preceding corrections?

    I am not playing you for the fool……….

    But you do appear to have a reading disability. Can you read a word/sentence in context==even if not linguistically at least in geography: what comes before and after your confusion? Let me provide it for emphasis:

    “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.

    Take a stab at the other questions and how they are answered by what you consider to be better than some other relevant issues may make the question valid to you? …. Yea, probably not.

    How about:

    1. Better for whom?
    2. Better for what end goal?
    3. Better in the short term or the long term?

    Yes, so many branches to follow. Or do you mean as you imply “better for every issue and every circumsance as in Universally Better for all analyses.” Is that what you mean?

    Ha, ha. Well that would be playing you for the fool, which is why I asked.

  2. G2 says:

    #79->If you can’t answer a direct answer without wishy-washying around, there is no need to continue. This is the problem with the government today. “It’s not that simple!” Actually, friend, it is. But you have to know your own mind.

    Good Luck in the future.

  3. tcc3 says:

    #80 G2

    Even the most complex equation is “simple” when you make all the variables 1. Doesn’t make it true, or useful though.

  4. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas. says:

    #80–G2==you are confusing me. YOU used the term, not me. How can I define what you mean by it?

    I’m not being wishy-washy==truly, you are which is why the question has merit. You could answer any of the four questions I gave you on a silver platter or define it in other ways as you may choose==BUT making up quotes out of your asshole is not very seemly? Well, actually it is for a Puke. In fact, it is de rigueur–so forget that comment.

    I assume you do know your own mind, so what do you mean by benefit?

  5. Gildersleeve says:

    I don’t think that anyone understands the federal budget. Search for charts of the budget for any given year and no two will be the same. But how about we look at these charts and ask why Social Security is in any of them. SSI is taxed and earmarked, and the fund has been in the black for years. It’s not exactly discretionary. So what about the rest of it?

    We need to better understand what we’re buying and getting from all the spending. For example, what does unemployment spending buy us? Social stability maybe. Is it worth the cost? Both conservatives and liberals need to better explain what these things mean, or don’t mean, to all of us.

    Finally, I’m sick of these jabs at the American public being portayed as selfish and narrow minded. It’s a load of crap – most Americans DO give a damn, about pretty much everything.

  6. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas. says:

    Gildersleeve==here is a start that I believe you actually already do know:

    The Federal Budget is in deficit with no plan currently to get it to break even much less pay off the debt.

    Both parties add to the deficit each year. Both parties add to the deficit to fund their re-election campaigns and to pay off their corporate donors. Pukes especially favor large corporations and the SuperRich while Dumbos especially favor unions and the working man.

    Thats enough to know how to vote unless you fit the stereotype you post against.

  7. Rick says:


  8. MikeN says:

    #85 cut the military budget by 100% and you still need another trillion dollars in cuts to balance the budget.

  9. KD Martin says:

    bobbo, #84, the large corporations certainly don’t ignore the Dumbos, who pay lip service to the “working man.” Corps don’t bet on just one side, why not bet both for the win? 🙂

    But your statement is a generality that has the look and feel of truth.

  10. ECA says:

    fOR THOSE THAT dont get it…
    The president is a FIGURE HEAD..

    He can say anything he wishes, make all the promises he wants..

    AS SOON as he get into office…
    HE IS TOLD what to do. HE becomes a PUPPET.

    How can this be?
    EASY. Threaten him and his children and his parents.

    Look at the Kennedys for proof.

    Its NOT always the ELECTED OFFICIALS. its those that have been there for YEARS..BEHIND the scenes.

    ITS TIME to ERASE it all, and START OVER..
    IF you dont CARE, go away, and sleep it off.
    IF you care, START MAILING your reps. THEN lets FIRE THEM ALL, and ELECT/HIRE people WHO KNOW what they are doing.

  11. bobbo, we think with words, and flower with ideas. says:

    #87–yea verily. Showing the Pukes and Dumbos are the same yet different at the same time. Eschew obfuscating dogma.

  12. G2 says:

    #81->Not just 1’s but 0’s, too. Something either makes sense or it doesn’t. Does it make sense that DC is spending $1.5T more than it is taking in? Does it look like DC knows how to handle money?

    What is your stance? Should the the money go to DC? Should it go to the local economy in the form of job creation? Should it be split up — a little for DC and a little locally?

    Bobo didn’t want to answer the question with anything but more questions. He’s not as clever as he thinks he is. Are you?


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