Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Remember when $40,000,000,000 seemed like a lot of money?

I had a somewhat amusing conversation yesterday, talking about government oversight on a defense project a while ago, and it was mentioned that because the government was spending $40 Billion on a project, they demanded some oversight (which naturally led to complications and waste, but that's beside the point). I was struck with a kinda sentimental nostalgia for the times when $40 Billion was considered a significant amount of money, something which required some oversight and planning before spending, and an amount which would appall people if the government squandered or flushed. It wasn't too long ago when that amount was considered a lot of money for the government to spend; yet now, it seems almost insignificant.

Consider recent government wastes:
- $180 Billion to bail out AIG, so they could pay off gambling debts of other banks
- $700 Billion for TARP, so the taxpayers could absorb the losses from the banking industry as repayment for causing the economic meltdown
- ~$60 Billion to buy up the failing auto industry, and prevent it from needing to be competitive
- ~$900 Billion in "stimulus" handouts for "tax rebates", green incentives, kickbacks, bribes, etc.
- $3 Billion for the Cash for Making Nationalizing the Auto Industry Look Good Historically program
- A few more billion in handouts to help prop up the real estate industry, as a "thank you" for creating the massive housing bubble
- $100+ Billion pending to the FDIC, to cover all the unrealized losses they have absorbed due to lax and/or nonexistent oversight
- $100+ Billion for the GSE's, so we can keep underwriting bad loans, cause that was such a good idea
- ?? Billion for FHA, so they can give more horrible loans to people who shouldn't be buying houses, and keep housing unaffordable for everyone else
- $10? Trillion pledged by the Fed to who-knows-what banks, corporations, private persons, hedge funds, or whatever other people/entities have received taxpayer bailouts in secret
- $1000+ Billion for socializing health care, as a down-payment toward socializing the rest of the country
- oh, let's not forget the ~$1000 Billion annual deficit for "normal" spending this year, before all the extra spending, handouts, kickbacks, bribes, corruption, accounting tricks, etc.
- etc, etc, etc.

Picking on $40 Billion in government waste today would be kinda like pointing out some dirt on top of the enormous pool of sewage we're swimming in. It makes me long for the "good ol' days" where our national debt was conceptually re-payable, and national insolvency was only a "long-term" problem.


  1. Yep, I think we are talking about real money, now.

  2. Don't worry Nick. It's not like they are spending their own money or anything.