Peter Blane


Posted in government by wusspett on August 27, 2009
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Not too long ago I was hanging out with a group of guys, and one of them was depicting how the internet works.  Basically describing that if you, for instance, live in Atlanta and are trying to connect to a website whose servers are in Canada, he was explaining the logic behind the fastest/most efficient way to connect.  This was way over my head.  He understood something I had no clue about.

So, you probably figure I am making a point – haha.  Well, as the guy was talking he made the comment (not to me specifically), “Dude, Microsoft is huge.  They have trillions of dollars worth of assets to help their connections.”  At that moment I realized that in less than a year, the concept of a trillion had been stuffed into a box and now could be used to describe anything.

Try this on for size.  A million seconds is 12 days, a billion seconds is 31 years, but a trillion seconds is 31,688 years. 31,688 YEARS.  That is PRE-HISTORY.  If you spent a $1,000,000 every day, you would have to spend it every day  for 2,740 years to get to a trillion!!

Now back to what that guy was saying about Microsoft.  Their market cap (assets) is $218 billion. Most fortune 500 companies hover around that figure, and even THAT figure is more than the GDP of some countries!  Correct, some companies make more than some countries do in a year – and that’s a quarter of ONE trillion. A quarter.  Are you seeing how big this is?

So, the U.S. national debt is over $11 trillion, or over $36,000 per person (given U.S. population is 300 million).  Bush increased our debt by $1 trillion (over 8 years). Obama is going to double that and MORE.  That means YOU (and me, of course) are responsible to pay this off – as long as we are U.S. citizens.  Of course, not everyone pays taxes, so more burden is shoved on you (and me).  Do you understand?  The government represents US – WE ARE the government – and WE have to pay this debt back.  Am I concerned when inflation rises, or spending increases, or when the dollar devalues?  You bet.  Are you?  Because “the government” is no some far-off, semi-imaginary thing that gives you a tax refund every year.  The government is real and they get their money from us; that’s why we have to pay taxes.  Let’s make it simple: if someone has a credit card with a balance, that person pays off that balance from the income they receive.  We are the government’s income, and they have a balance on their “credit card”.

It doesn’t matter what your political views are.  In my opinion, we should all be very concerned with how the government spends our money.  In fact, I think that is something we should all agree on.


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  1. euandus2 said,

    You would like this (i.e., concept of trillion). There is a NYT article on the US debt today (see post at It hasn’t been just after the financial crisis of 2008 that the US Government has had unbalanced annual budgets… And consider consumer “use” of credit cards? Is there something about our society–about ourselves–that we are missing because we are in it? (e.g. a fish doesn’t “see” its water). I don’t think we are digging deep enough.

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