Friday, July 29, 2011

Numbers Don't Lie

Numbers Don’t Lie
Louis Lazarus


1 million seconds = 12 days

1 billion seconds = 31 years

and finally 1 trillion seconds = 31,688 years


Carefully look at the numbers above. If you’re not astonished at the last line, you don’t need to read this because you already have an idea of what I am going to say. If you are astonished and simply don’t believe these numbers, do the math yourself. Start with 60 seconds in a minute. We can all agree on that. We have 60 minutes in an hour so we must multiply the number of seconds in a minute by the number of minutes in an hour. 60 X 60 = 3600. There are 3600 seconds in an hour. At this point you can also think of this small unit of time we call “seconds” as one dollar. Let’s say they are interchangeable. Just keep that in the back of your mind. We now have established there are 3600 seconds in a hour so how many hours are there in one day? We have to multiply 3600 X 24 to get the answer. 3600 X 24 = 86,400.. In one day, there are 86,400 seconds. We know there are 365 days in one year. To get the number of seconds in one year we multiply the number of seconds in one day by the number of days in one year. Let’s do that. 86,400 X 365 = 31,536,000 which is the number of seconds in one full year. And in 1000 years that number becomes 31,536,000,000 or about 31.65 billion. So…in a thousand years the clock ticks off 31.65 billion seconds. A million years is a thousand times that last number or 31,536,000,000,000 seconds. LET’S SAY THAT OUT LOUD RIGHT NOW. A million years is 31,536,000,000,000 seconds. That number is 31,536 TRILLION. Let’s round that off at 31.5 trillion seconds. If we take half of that amount the number is approximately 500,000 years and the number of seconds is about 15 trillion. We did the math. The numbers are enormous. You can do these same calculations on your computer if you doubt this.

When you hear some newscaster talk about such and such billion and then they say “Oh, I meant trillion…what’s a few zeroes?”, you automatically know that person is either an idiot or doesn’t understand numbers…or both. I’ve heard so many people toss million, billion and trillion around as though they were almost interchangeable. As you can see by the calculations above, this is not so. A million is a huge number. It’s one thousand…thousand. That’s a wheelbarrow full of a thousand one dollar bills times a thousand wheelbarrows. If we have all those wheelbarrows in a warehouse and have a thousand warehouses just like that, we have a billion dollars. Picture a thousand warehouses all built in an industrial park. Got the picture In your mind? Now if we are talking about A TRILLION, that’s one thousand INDUSTRIAL PARKS, each with one thousand buildings and each building contains one thousand wheelbarrows and each wheelbarrow contains one thousand one dollar bills. That’s a trillion!!

We are currently 14.5 trillion dollars in debt. And soon to be, though the magical beauty of baseline budgeting, over 20 trillion dollars in debt. Let’s just stick with the 14.5 trillion for now. We have approximately 300,000,000 (three hundred million) people who live in this country. We are the owners and are responsible for all debts incurred. We elect people to manage our country and they take a sacred oath to do the right thing. They have put us in debt 14.5 trillion dollars. To really simplify this situation, let’s think in terms of our own family budget. All 300 million of us owe 14.5 trillion dollars total. How do we find out what each one of us owes individually? It’s easy. We take the amount owed and divide by the number of people who owe that amount. Let’s do the math, To make it easy we’ll round up to 15 trillion. 15 trillion divided by 300 million = 50,000. Each man, woman and child owes 50,000 dollars. You have your mortgage and all your other bills that you’ve incurred directly PLUS you owe an additional 50.000 dollars.

Whatever your balance is on your VISA or MasterCard, add 50,000 dollars to that for each person in your family. All the interest you are paying on your charge card right now is just for what you’ve spent directly and what you owe to vendors. Add another 50,000 and figure the interest too. This is for every family member. The number is staggering and you know you can’t pay it off. You also know the first thing you should do if you have to pay it off is to reduce your monthly spending and then take “that” money which you don’t normally spend and start paying down your charge card. Common sense tells you to do that. You don’t need a degree in economics to figure this out. It will take a long time to pay this amount down but it’s the right thing to do. There’s no question about that. However, your spouse suggests you forget about what you already owe and you go out and buy yourself that nice new Lexus or Mercedes you’ve had your eye on. You already owe an additional 50,000 dollars for each person in your family and now it’s been suggested you add to that amount. To put it simply, this is what your elected politicians are suggesting and arguing about.

However, here’s the twist. They are saying you really had your eye on that Mercedes 500SL which costs a little over 120,000 dollars but since the family finances aren’t too good, you will buy the Lexus which only costs 85,000 dollars which is actually saving your family 40,000 dollars. Now, doesn’t that sound good to you? Doesn’t that make sense? Wouldn’t it be the right thing to do? Why not SAVE 40,000 dollars? Who wouldn’t do that? And, there you have it. That is what the politicians are arguing about. The media will blame the Republicans because they want to start cutting your family debt and they want to stop the spending. The media will tell you it’s OK to buy that Lexus because you’re saving 40,000 dollars. Some of you will agree with the media because it just sounds so good. After all, you get a nice, new shiny Lexus and you’ve saved 40,000. You just put the purchase on your charge card and pay it off each month. The only problem with that scenario is you will NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER be able to pay your card off. What will happen in the end? What actually happens when you’ve really figured out you have dug a hole so deep, you can never get out? We will find out very soon because that’s exactly where we are.

The “cuts” our criminal politicians are talking about are actually cuts in the increase they are going to spend. The final number is somewhere over 20 trillion dollars and they are haggling over how much to cut of the 9 trillion increase they plan to spend. They are not talking about the 14 trillion at all. The cuts are going to be made (theoretically) over the next ten years to the 9 trillion increase. There is no guarantee and they are arguing over 100 billion a year. This is what is known as “baseline budgeting”. It’s essentially Washington, D.C. “speak” for a cut to an increase, and not a cut to what exists. If they plant to spend ten dollars more next year but wind up only spending 9 dollars, that to them….is a cut. When you hear them talk about cutting the budget on TV or the radio, it’s got nothing to do with the 14 trillion we already owe.

Numbers don’t lie. We are in debt and we have leaders who are criminals. You didn’t do this to yourself. They did this to you. The only question that remains, and for which I don’t have an answer is….what happens next?


barb p said...

Glad to see you back have been missed!!!!

This article is more than scary!!! None of us will live to see this debt paid...for generations!!!

Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog