Friday, March 6, 2009

This is why it's so easy.

Dear George,

Listen up; I want to let you in on a little secret. The reason Wall Street is having such an easy time looting the U.S. Treasury has nothing to do with corruption or lobbyist or campaign payoffs to their congressional employees.

It all has to do with rhymes, as in nursery rhymes.

Millions, billions, trillions—they sound the same, so in the public’s eye they are pretty much the same.


Not necessarily.

There’s a handy little trick that puts the difference between the three into perspective. If you substitute seconds for dollars, you get the following relationship:

· A million seconds equals 11.7 days
· A billion seconds equals 32 years
· A trillion seconds equals 32000 years[1]

The following paragraph gives of summary of some of the looted funds that have found their way to Wall Street. After each figure, I have inserted the equivalent time in parenthesis:

The U.S. government has pledged more than $11.6 trillion (371,200 years) on behalf of the American taxpayers over the past 19 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Changes from the previous table, published Feb. 9, include a $787 billion (25,184 years) economic stimulus package. The Federal Reserve has new lending commitments totaling $1.8 trillion (57,600 years)…The U.S. Treasury also added $200 billion (6,400 years) to its support commitment for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac…

Anyhow, you get the idea.

With a rhyming game like that it’s as easy as taking candy from a baby.

No wonder nobody pays attention.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[1] Blastland & Dilton. The Numbers Game.

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