Free Markets, Free People


Have you ever wondered how much a trillion dollars really is?  Have you ever tried to get your head around that number?

Well here’s a handy measure.  If you were in the aircraft carrier buying business you could buy 222 Nimitz class carriers.


Or you could just give every man, woman and child in the US $325.50 each year for 10 years.


It’s one hell of a lot of money.

And if you only think its going to cost a trillion when the government gets into health care, I have a few hundred Nimitz class carriers you might be interested in.


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8 Responses to $1,000,000,000,000

  • Maybe the most practical way to consider it is like this:

    US debt incurs interest that is paid with taxes.  The interest rate is projected be 6%  in the long run, accorting to the Social Security Administration actuaries and other such governmental budget projectors.

     There are 80 million payers of income tax in the US.   So each billion of new debt adds $750 of tax cost per taxpayer, into the future, forever.   (Unless the govt pays off its debt.  Just joking!)

    Ergo, Obama’s expected $1.8 trillion deficit for this year projects to add $1,350 to the tax bill of each taxpayer on average, forever.

    Which might not be so bad, maybe, to mitigate a very bad recession, standing by itself, as a one-time thing. Maybe.

    But as of last year the govt’s outstanding explicit and implicit debt was $64 trillion.   Which creates an explicit and implict tax liability to just carry the debt of  more than $49,000 per taxpayer.

    As of today most of that is implicit (for unfunded Medicare liabilities, etc.) but every year from now on (as more seniors retire and start collecting Medicare, etc) more of the debt will shift from being implict to explicit, requiring cash tax collections to pay for it.

    And as more and more does so, by the year 2027, a mere 18 years away, we get to here

    So I guess, in the big scheme of things, what’s a mere ‘nother trillion or two added this year as a “stimulus”?  Not so much! 

  • Sure you could buy 22 carriers…  But could you crew them with what’s left over?

  • Typo: 

    “So each billion of new debt adds $750 of tax cost per taxpayer, into the future, forever.”

    That’s “each trillion”.  Debt on this scale is even hard to type accurately.

  • No, no, NO! See, a trillion dollars is what we’ll be SAVING when we implement universal health care! Because the runaway costs of health care are bankrupting our country! And… and… and… it’s not fair that people who have money should get health care while people who don’t die in the streets! And… and… and… the government will work with doctors and hospitals and drug companies to get costs under control! And make the rich pay their fair share! We’ll find the money somewhere!

    / sarc

    JIM GLASS’s analysis is of interest as it demonstrates how much this is going to cost us all, but libs (because their brains don’t work right) don’t see it as “extra tax burden”. Rather, libs see it as, “Aren’t you willing to pay a few hundred dollars in taxes so that sick children (sniff!) don’t die in the streets because their parents can’t afford medical care for them, you selfish prick???”

    This, of course, is the standard mantra of the nanny-staters: if they only had a few extra (billion) dollars for (insert program here), we could end (insert perceived problem here) in America!

    One of the ironies of all this is that a solid majority of Americans are satisfied with their health care. It’s incomprehensible to me that, given such numbers, people believe that the health system is in crisis and that only a government takeover can solve the problem. Apparently, quite a few people in the country are incapable of even the most rudimentary levels of logical thought. This includes most of the refugees from excellence who work in MiniTru. As an example, I offer this from a column by Richard Cohen:

    “When I was in the Army and known to my friends as ‘Combat Cohen,’ I could not get over the fact that the American public supported high Pentagon spending despite firsthand knowledge of astounding waste and theft. I cite, for instance, the well-known and frequently witnessed pillaging of food by mess sergeants. From tasting their stuff, I can say that theft is what they did best.

    “Now I am similarly perplexed. Many, if not most, Americans have some sort of experience with our nation’s mostly private health care system. Yet they still fall prey to the scare tactic that nothing — but nothing — could be worse than a government takeover of the system. How things could be worse than they are now, I cannot imagine.”

    I will ignore the gratuitous, stereotypical digs at the Army and deal with the glaring logical fallacy:

    ***Cohen wants the same government that hired those corrupt, incompetent mess sergeants to be in charge of our health care and can’t imagine why many other people are a little frightened by that thought.***

    Let’s look at more of Cohen’s blather:

    “Into this debate about the role of government in medical care, I come jaded by experience. In addition to having been Combat Cohen, I was also Cohen of Claims when I worked for an insurance company. This means that whenever someone says something about “government bureaucrats,” I smile because I was once a non-government bureaucrat. It is not government bureaucrats who say that certain treatments will not be covered, and it is not the government that purges insurance rolls of the sick or the old, and it is not the government that makes money — lots of money — on health insurance. It is private enterprise.”

    First of all, I wonder if “Combat Cohen” ever ate at a civilian restaurant when he was in the Army and stopped to think about why the food there was presumably better than at the mess hall (hint: it’s called “profit motive”).

    Second, I wonder if “Combat Cohen” ever made use of the military health system and stopped to think about why it was so much more… um… impersonal than his old family doctor (hint: it’s called “profit motive”).

    Third, I wonder if “Cohen of Claims” ever made use of his own health insurance. Were his claims paid? If not, then why did he continue to pay his premiums? It seems to me that he’s trying to imply that insurance companies NEVER pay claims and ALWAYS refuse to cover people (the heartless b*stards). Quite aside from the fact that an insurance company that delivered such lousy service would rapidly go out of business (hint: profit motive), the debate in America today ISN’T about nasty ol’ health insurance companies refusing to pay claims: it’s about the COST of medical care which (to hear libs tell it) is bankrupting the country. How this problem will be solved by switching from corporate bureaucrats to government bureaucrats is something Columnist Cohen doesn’t explain.

    Finally, I guess that Columnist Cohen didn’t read this little gem from Peter Singer, a bioethicist at Princeton:

    “Rationing health care means getting value for the billions we are spending by setting limits on which treatments should be paid for from the public purse. If we ration we won’t be writing blank checks to pharmaceutical companies for their patented drugs, nor paying for whatever procedures doctors choose to recommend. When public funds subsidize health care or provide it directly, it is crazy not to try to get value for money. The debate over health care reform in the United States should start from the premise that some form of health care rationing is both inescapable and desirable. Then we can ask, ‘What is the best way to do it?'”

    This, of course, is the dirty little open secret that proponents of government health care don’t want to talk about: if we adopt their scheme, Uncle Sugar will decide who gets what coverage in America. Yep: the same fools who write the tax code will write health policy to be administered by the same sort of people who ran those mess halls that figure so prominently in Cohen’s memory.

    Let’s let Columnist Cohen finish up:

    “… in deciding what to do and who to support in the current attempt to reform health care, don’t rely on insurance industry propaganda, but on your own experience. Recall the last time you went to the emergency room and ask yourself if the government could possibly do a worse job. If the answer is yes, then you might need medical attention more than you realize.”

    As it happens, I’ve recently experienced the emergency rooms that Cohen makes out to be little better than Auschwitz. Two different ER’s: in both cases, admitted and under treatment within five minutes of arriving at the hospital. Excellent treatment by nurses, MD’s, and therapists. Follow-ups with my GP and a specialist. All paid for without trouble by my health insurance company.

    I’ve also experienced government medical care when I was in the Army. In one case, I was turned away from the Troop Medical Clinic because it was Thanksgiving Day and the SPC running the place didn’t want to bother with those of us who’d come on sick call (we had to walk there, too). In another, I reported to the clinic with a stye in one eye and was berated by the 1LT physician’s assistant for wasting his time; I left without treatment. I should note in fairness that not all my experiences with Army medical care were bad, but I’ve NEVER been turned away by a civilian doctor or hospital because it was a holiday or I was “wasting their time”.

    So… Can the government do worse than the private system? Oh, yes, Columnist Cohen, it can AND DOES.

  • President Obama will announce that Bruce has helped him identify one trillion dollars in savings.  The USA will not build 222 Nimitz class aircraft carriers over the next ten years.  BAM!  $1 trillion, in the cookie jar.

  • We must not let this Health Care and Cap & Trade programs be enacted into law.  It will our economy to it’s knees, contact your representatives and voice your opinion.

  • And if we built all 222 in one year imagine how many new jobs that would create!!!!

  • Turns out the $787 billion “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act” (AARA) was not designed for full economic recovery, but rather to “stabilize” the downturn.  That’s the word from White House officials today, who held off-camera briefings with reporters on how the AARA is working so far.
    “This legislation was designed to cushion the downturn,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. “That’s why we have always talked about this as one function of economic recovery.”
    When pressed about the change in terminology, Gibbs said he was not trying to temper expectations after the fact. “I can probably find 15 or 20 occasions when I said this in the lead up,” Gibbs said, explaining that he had always defined the AARA as part of a “multi-legged stool.”

    If sh** could walk, it would be “multi-legged”