Tuesday, October 21, 2008
A little perspective
Our government has decided to bail-out the mortgage industry to the initial tune of $700 billion dollars.
When I first saw it, I couldn't really comprehend it. The only things that I have ever seen 700 billion of were grains of sand, and other aggregates (A human body has more than 700 billion cells, I think).
If you took $700,000,000,000 in $1 bills, it would reach to the moon and back 131 times (with the moon at it's furthest point). If you just laid them out, end to end, it would reach the planet Mars. OR, it would circle the globe 2,662 times (around the equator).
This bailout is WAY more money than the US budget for defense. The budgetary amounts for the Global War on Terrorism, the Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery, Veterans Affairs, and Border Security add up to $483 billion dollars for 2007, 2008, and 2009 (projected).
That's $17,000 for every man, woman and child in Sudan (the country Darfur is located in). That is almost 10 times their gross domestic product.
That is $44,000 for every student attending a college or university in 2007, in the United States (A little less than two years of average tuition).
Or we can give each graduating college student $280,000 to pay down their debt or pay for post-graduate classes (or buy a house).
That is a pay RAISE of $112,000 for every teacher in the United States, or roughly a tripling of their salary.
Seven-hundred Billion dollars (It gets a big "B")
That will provide the salaries for over 16,000 nurses. Those people that take care of you when you are sick, dying, or suffering from a horrendous life change.
The International Space Station has cost approximately (very approximately) $100 billion to deploy. Yep, we could get seven of these.
Folks, the people who are looking for these handouts routinely take home bonuses measured in the millions to tens of millions of dollars. During the "Bailout" discussions, these people went on trips costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, despite their businesses being in jeopardy. What was the purpose of these trips? Apparently rest and relaxation, given that they went to a posh spa in California. I can assure you that this rest and relaxation was not offered to the people they foreclosed on when the loans went sour.
Almost no one has mentioned anything about the horrible loan practices that got us into this mess, perpetrated by the businesses that now seek a massive bailout. We're going to see a shell/shuffle game that rivals the skill of a seasoned con-man, as the responsibility for these bad loans is shifted from company to company. All were complicit.
This isn't a matter for the upcoming vote. Neither of the candidates has really announced any plan or strong viewpoint for dealing with this mess. This really comes down to accountability.
The $700 Billion that is being thrown around is your money. The people that are being affected are your peers, your neighbors, the small business owners in your community. Your congressman, senator, and president will all have jobs tomorrow. They will continue to make their money (and spend yours), and they will continue to have their job security.
You will have to worry, and spend some sleepless nights concerned about the roof over your head. Sleep well.