A while back, some brainiac with time enough to play
with numbers sent out one of those e-mails that got
picked up & forwarded by just about everybody – as
a joke, or rather, some trivial thing people could read
and agree with, and then forget because it was never
going to happen. The premise was that, instead of
“bailing out” big business, Uncle Sam could just send
that money direct to the people. According to the e-mail,
each of us would receive some ridiculous amount of
money – into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That would be way cool, but the numbers were off.
Calculators aren’t built to deal with figures above 10 billion, it seems, and people sometimes get confused with decimals.
According to the economic geniuses (and aren’t they all?) on talk radio, the combined total dollar figure for the bailouts of the auto & financial industries will end up being around $1 trillion. For you poor folks who aren’t accustomed to seeing numbers like this on your paychecks, that’s a one, followed by twelve zeroes, before the decimal point.
To put that figure into Reaganomics: if you got that much money in $100 bills, and laid them end-to-end, they’d stretch about 947,000 miles. If you could lay those bills down at the rate of one per second, assuming you were going the right direction and could hold your breath long enough, a man could be on the moon in about 9 years and two months, and it would only take about ¼ of the money to get there. A woman, of course, would take considerably longer, due to bathroom breaks, and might spend a few extra bucks along the way.
If the traveling man took only the money he needed to get to the moon, and invested the remaining ¾ at 2% compounded interest, he could pick up about $146 billion while he was on his way, making that trip a real bargain. He could have that interest wired to him and catch a ride back on the space shuttle for a paltry million or so.
Reaganomics is confusing. Why would anybody want to spend over 9 years on his hands and knees in space? Besides, I’m not good with decimals either, and this could all be a crock as far as you know. Let’s go back to splitting that money up between the taxpayers.
There are about 138 million taxpayers in the United States. If each of those people received an equal share of the $1 Trillion bailout money, they’d get $7246.38 each. That’s roughly $14,500 for a working couple.
If the Treasury sent each person their equal cut, with the stipulation that it would have to be paid, first, toward any mortgage(s) they had, then, viola, the mortgage companies are out of hock. Even those individuals who had mortgages to pay on would then have that much more disposable income, with which they could buy (guess what?) cars. And, suddenly, the car companies are back in business. The factories are producing again. People are working. All is well.
Those fortunate few who don’t have mortgages, and already have all the cars they want or need could invest their money into the new booming economy. Wall Street soars, and again, all is well.
So, as ridiculous as the “people bail-out” sounds on the surface, really, where’s the down side? Some may say that the government having to print a trillion extra dollars to do this would be inflationary. Sure it will. But, they’ve got to print it anyway, in theory. So, giving it to Big Business hurts the little guy even more, because now the wee bit of money he has is worth even less than before. Then he can afford to buy less. So the economy, overall, suffers. More businesses lose revenue, have to shut down, lay off employees. More people out of work who can’t afford to buy goods and services, and even more businesses shut down. And so it goes.
Where does that end?
Near Rogers, Arkansas, submerged under Beaver Lake, hides the remains of a once-thriving resort known as Monte Ne. It was built by a man named Coin Harvey, around 1901, died in the hard times of the ‘30’s, and buried with water when the lake was formed in 1964. Harvey was, among other things, an economist who proposed a law mandating the forgiveness of all debt and the abolishment of credit. In other words, in an instant, you don’t owe anybody anything, and nobody owes you. What you have is yours, outright. It is an interesting concept, if you think about it. But it didn’t get very far because then, as now, the entities that hold the debt are the ones in control of the entities that make the laws. They really have nothing to gain by helping out the little guy.
Don’t expect these government bailouts to do that either.
© 2009, Rick Baber