Sunday, June 25, 2006

An analysis of Money

Giving money out freely is, more or less, the American way today.  We, who are more prosperous than most, find ourselves obligated to give money to those in need.  Organizations like the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, thrift stores, and many others have been built around this concept of charity.  In fact, many for-profit organizations have found that they have to give to charity to keep themselves looking positive in the public eye.  So let's do some analysis of this.

In 2005, Americans gave a total of 260.28 BILLION DOLLARS in charity contributions.  In fact, this is not unusual.  There was no boost from Katrina despite all its news, instead it just was a beneficiary.  Americans are very generous, and I have more proof. Within just 1 month of September 11th, Americans gave, to New York alone, over 1 BILLION dollars.  These are massive charitable contributions, even when today we have over 8.4 TRILLION dollars in national debt.

It's interesting to me that people look at these numbers and can even concieve of them as "small".  Therefore, the rest of this post is to explain the actual amount of money that we are dealing with.  Let's start with 1 billion dollars.  This is more money than most of you will ever see in your life.  Let's look at it more detailed.  The vast majority of this country will not make this amount of money if you put together every dollar they've made in their entire lives.  In fact, if you take 500 people's lives, odds are they're combined total income from birth to death will not equal 1 billion dollars.  That's considering the increased income of today.

What about that $260.28 billion?  Well, now that you understand the $1 billion, let's try and concieve of the above, which is just one single year's contribution total.  Let's look at it in more reasonable numbers.  Let's assume that a family of 4 buys about $100 per week in groceries.  In this case, 1 million families could be fed for over 50 years.  That's feeding the entire population of the Kentucky for half of a century, and having food left over!!!  That's a LOT of money!

Now that 8.4 trillion is my favorite of the numbers, because the US government has been trying like crazy to talk it down and find ways to make it sound smaller.  Note, first, that this is only the actual debt.  This is not how much we owe, but how much we owe to other countries after calling in ALL debts owed to us.  This doesn't include how much is owed internally for purchasing things like military technology from companies like Lockheed Martin, or how much is owed assuming we don't call in debts from other countries (who may or may not be able to pay those debts).  What's so fantastic about this number is that most Americans have no idea how big this number is.  So let's try to view things from a more effective perspective.

First, to help analyze this, consider this.  If you were to try to count to 8.4 trillion, you would die first.  In fact, you would die several times over first.  It is so massive that it is hard to percieve, so let's try to examine it differently.  Let's try something everyone can understand, houses.  Let's assume that the average house costs $100,000.  Now, this is somewhat of a low number, but it's close enough for our studies.  So, let's divide this debt into houses.  That's 84,000,000 houses, 84 million!  Ok, so a million's a big number too and that still may not quite be clear.  So let's clarify it further.  Assuming 1 person per house (Yeah RIGHT!!)  if we were to pay off that debt tomorrow, we would make 84 million people homeless, or about 1/3 of the ENTIRE population of the US.  That's right, and consider that I'm lowballing here!  In order to pay off that national debt (again just the excess export debt) we would have to make 1/3 of the entire US population homeless.

Next time we'll study charity from a different angle.


One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation. – Thomas B. Reed (1886)

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. –
P.J. O'Rourke

Monday, June 05, 2006

OK Cupid Political test...

You are a

Social Liberal
(80% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(95% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test