February 20, 2009

Laws of Big Numbers

Lot's people want me to know that a billion is large number. I just got anouther forwared right-wing e-mail, going on and on about how big a billion is. And now we have commercials running the famos "Jeasus Math"

"Suppose you spent $1 million every single day starting from the day Jesus was born — and kept spending through today,” says the announcer over a diorama picture of the three wise men and a camel. “A million dollars a day for more than 2,000 years. You would still have spent less money than Congress just did.”

But we need to spend money to do stuff. Lots of money! There are 300 million Americans. The American economy is worth something on the order of 12 trillion dollars a year. This economic downturn means its going to come up several trillion dollars short. The stimulus is designed to make up that shortfall. The Iraq war is costing us at least a trillion dollars. We are a huge country with huge problems and we need to spend large amounts of money to accomplish anything. We could spend 792 thousand dollars in order to make conservatives not feel as small, but it wouldn't matter. A fifty thousand dollars stimulus might be more comprehensible to the small-minded, but it wouldn't be worth the paper it's printed on.

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