Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Everyone is waxing wroth about the 700 Billion Bailout; I thought I'd pour some context onto the issue, just for grins and giggles.

We're already spent circa 600 billion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Estimates of the total cost run from 1.2 to 3 trillion dollars. But never mind that. Here's another way to look at it.

The Federal government budget in 2007 was 2.7 trillion dollars, give or take a few billion. 700 billion is about a quarter of the total government budget for a year. That is, this is the equivalent of someone who makes $100,000 dollars taking out a $25,000 loan. That's a car, a kitchen remodel or a college loan.

But the price tag really isn't being borne by the US government, but ultimately by the US taxpayer. So what's the size of the total US economy? Almost 14 trillion dollars. So 700 billion becomes five percent of the total size of the economy. Is it worth that to keep the economy from becoming significantly smaller? Going back to the household income of 100,000, this is the equivalent of a 5,000 loan. Most of us could put that on a credit card. Or we could, before all the credit dried up.

Look, I'm not saying 700 billion is nothing, and I'd certainly prefer not to have to pay it. But I would have preferred not to be tossing trillions down the rathole in Iraq; in fact, if I had my druthers, I'd prefer to spend borrowed money bailing out Americans than colonizing a foreign country.


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