Skip to main content

Billion American Dollars Seem Highly Insignificant Today -(coin your own acronym)

Dear Members and Constituents,
It's not clear whether Everett Dirksen (who served in the U.S. congress 1933 - 1969) ever uttered the infamous phrase "a billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you're talking real money". It is clear, however, several recent news stories seem to imply a billion dollars is not "real money".
  • The U.S. is contemplating $1.2 Billion in aid to Pakistan which, according to analysts, is unlikely to buy us much (if any) good will from their people
  • The $7.2 Billion broadband stimulus package will not make a meaningful dent in the disparity that exists between urban and rural broadband availability.
  • The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the administration's budget could bring about $9.3 Trillion (12 zeroes) in deficits.
  • Heck, Bernie Madoff, a single individual, was able to defraud investors out of $65 Billion (what's a billion among friends?)

It's intuitive to me that a Billion dollars (nine zeroes) buys elected officials less than it would you or I. The more money you manage, the less control over minutia you have. A housewife in Bangladesh will get the biggest bang for her Taka (worth about a penny and a half). Officials thinking in chunks of 69.7 Billion Taka ($1 Billion), have a harder time avoiding the proverbial Reagan-era $800 toilet seat purchases or letting a few million dollars line the pockets of corrupt local officials here and there. Sure, these are tough times, however, Dirksen died in '69 so apparently, it's been a while since a billion in the government's hands went a long way.

With the Rockies' home opener today, it's comforting to know a billion still gets you a 13 year runway with that organization (only 4.75 if you wanted to fund the Yankees payroll). Luckily, none of us is cursed with having that kind of money to spend (that did not sound right).. and thus it becomes easier to walk away from bad deals. Take Danielle Vitale (donut girl) as an example. She was well within her means when she purchased five dozen donuts to share with us this morning (although carrying them in did pose some challenges -they're heavy!). And if you've been having a hard time picturing these obscenely large amounts of money, perhaps it would help to think of a dozen donuts as the number of zeros that follow the number one in a trillion. Only nine donuts for a billion. I don't know about you but all this talk has made me getting hungry. So, stimulate the economy by purchasing some coffee, tea, hot cocoa or milk and then stimulate your taste buds with a delicious donut.

Have a Good Friday.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Love and Marriage go together like a Horse and... Donut!

Friends, My family gained a new daughter last week. As I welcome the freshly minted Mrs. Gonz├ílez, I wish the new couple a lasting, loving, happy and tranquil marriage. I am also reminded of a special delivery I received at the wedding. A few weeks ago, my niece/goddaughter held a “go fund me” and offered to stitch something for the donors. I, of corse, asked for a horse jumping through a donut. The completed masterpiece depicting this unlikely combo now has a special place in my office, and brings a smile to my face every time I see it. That said, I may forgo the obligatory donut today and opt for some of the leftover cake we still have at the house. Happy Friday!   New addition to the Family Horse through donut  with the artist   Horse through donut at it’s new home shelf P.S. The donut wall in action.

Anthropomorphic Donuts

Friends, The human form is the measure by which we frame the world around us. We are, after all, most familiar with (and full of) ourselves. Take the friendly elevator at Shift, the coworking environment where I sometimes migrate to change scenery. It’s no more or less efficient than other elevators, yet, the illusion of a smiley face created by the card reader’s reflection makes the space just a tad more endearing. The elevator could, for all I know, be an evil machine plotting my demise. Nah! Who am I kidding, it can’t be. What with its symmetric “eyes” and understated grin. Nothing so cute could possibly be waiting for the right moment to plunge me to my grave from the top floor. Could it? Another example: receiving two thumbs up is universally accepted as a sign of having done a great job. Unless, of course, if it’s coming from a koala bear. With two opposable thumbs in each hand, anything short of four thumbs has room for improvement. Which leads me to donuts. Last week’s expedit

THE Oasis

Friends, The book  Ready Player One  sent me down memory lane this week. The journey was not triggered by the author’s excessive references to the 1980s, which border on obsessive. Rather, it was the name of the massive virtual reality simulation used by characters in this dystopian future to escape their grim surroundings: The OASIS. You see, that was also the name of my grandfather’s country estate, the setting where a disproportionate share of my treasured childhood memories were created.  La Quinta Oasis was a bucolic old whitewashed house with a massive stone staircase, three foot thick adobe walls and wooden window shutters that, when closed at night, would submerge the residence in pitch darkness. With no running water, electricity, phone or indoor plumbing, the only modern convenience was the battery transistor radio on which my uncles would listen to “Chucho el Roto”, a radio soap opera. The Spanish fighting roosters crowed long before sunrise, making it difficult to fall back