Sunday, March 22, 2009


Everitt Dirksen, the late senator from Illinois, was famous for once remarking, “A billion here and a billion there, and before you know it, we’re talking about real money.” He should only have lived to see what’s happening today.

We need to put the amazing numbers floating around in some rational perspective. A billion here… a trillion there… what’s it all mean?

For example, we all know what $100,000 is. Many of us make that much or more in a single year, or we know someone who does. It’s not abstract. A hundred grand is a number we understand. So, do the math - how many years do you have to work to make a million bucks? Ten. Okay, you say – I can handle that. But, we are now giving away billions – not millions. Let’s try to get a grasp on exactly what this means. How long must you work, if you’re making a 100 grand a year, to make - not a million - but a billion? The answer is… ten thousand years. Yes, that right! It’ll take you that long. A word to the wise – you don’t have it in you, sorry.

If we just gave AIG $170 billion, what does the “we” part really amount to? Who are “we”? How many of “us” does it take to equal this so-called “we”?

The average household income in the United States is $53,100 – and for the most part it takes 2 wage earners to accumulate that much. That’s roughly half the 100 grand we’ve been talking about. For the average American household, instead of ten, it will take about 20 years to earn a million dollars. If you figure a lifetime of working at about 40 years, and you count two people healthy enough and skilled enough to manage that kind of effort, then your average American household will bring in about $2,000,000 in a lifetime. Of course, odds are they’ll need to spend every penny of that money – after taxes of course - just to stay alive… pay the mortgage, buy food, run the family car, send the kids to college… you know, that kind of stuff.

How much was it we just gave to AIG? Oh, yeah - $170 billion.

Remember, each billion dollars is a million dollars, a thousand times over!

And, each $1,000,000 represents the lifetime earnings of 2 American workers… multiplied by 1,000 - in order to make a billion - and then multiplied again by 170 to reach the $170,000,000,000… Or you could say it equals 340,000 working Americans.

So, we have given to one company – AIG – an amount of money equal to the lifetime earnings of 340,000 Americans… every single cent they’ll ever earn in their entire lives!

In order for a tiny group of men and women who have owned and operated AIG – and run it literally into the toilet - not to suffer the consequences of their enormous ineptitude and phenomenal incompetence, the results of 13,600,000 years of labor by 340,000 individuals have been gifted to the least deserving among us.

Why are we doing this? Does anyone know? Can you explain – specifically and exactly – what terrible things would happen if we allowed all these gangsters and their criminal enterprises to collapse inward upon themselves and fail? Don’t give me platitudes like… “The banking system will fail…” or, “The world’s financial systems will come tumbling down.” Tell me exactly what that means – exactly what will happen - How When, Where and Who.

Can you do that? Is any of what we’re doing worth what it's costing?

Can you tell me how “we” the taxpayers will ever get our money back?

And, if it’s not coming from your pocket and from mine, can you tell me where (besides a printing press) all this money is coming from?

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