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How much is a "Billion"?

By TonytheTiger ·
A Billion!!!!! Here's some thought provoking information

The next time you hear a politician use the word "billion" in a casual manner, think about whether you want the "politicians" spending your tax money.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but one advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of its releases.

a.. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

b.. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

c.. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

d.. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.

e.. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.

While this thought is still fresh in our brain, let's take a look at New Orleans -

It's amazing what you can learn with some simple division ...

Louisiana Senator, Mary Landrieu (D), is presently asking the Congress for $250 BILLION to rebuild New Orleans. Interesting number, what does it mean?

a.. Well, if you are one of 484,674 residents of New Orleans (every man, woman, child), you each get $516,528.

b.. Or, if you have one of the 188,251 homes in New Orleans , your home gets $1,329,787.

c..Or, if you are a family of four, your family gets $2,066,012.

Does the average taxpayer really understand what a billion is?

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But the people it hurts...

by TonytheTiger In reply to A comment

it's actually hurting people.

...are the people the government is afraid of and seek to control!

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What is the next easiest alternative to being on the gravy train?

by mjwx In reply to A comment

In my reckoning it's crime. If these people all of a sudden found them selves without welfare what would they do? Those people who do not wish to find a job (the type we are debating and in Australia make up the smallest percentage on welfare) would take the next easiest alternative.

Incidents of thievery, extortion, drug dealing would increase in number and severity (due to increased competition). Now I spent my school years up north (north of western Australia) and I've seen the worst of those on the gravy train (see: the fringe dweller problem). I can tell you I would much rather have them in a stupor from booze or sniffing petrol (a common problem the fringe dwellers suffer from) than looking for a a means to get their next, well I suppose you can call it a hit.

As I said, these are a minority in the extreme, an absolute tiny proportion. 60% of people on welfare are there temporarily (between jobs), 35% are infirm, retiree's, students or otherwise legitimately unemployable (including refugees and non English speakers) and the remaining 5% are "other". Welfare in this country exists to help people into employment, the majority of people on welfare. In fact if you are on welfare you have to look for 4 to 10 jobs a fortnight to receive it (you'll get cut off if you don?t) unless your studying or otherwise unemployable (infirm, retired, non English speaker). That last point I don?t disagree with at all.

If US statistics are drastically different (the majority of welfare claimer?s are not actively looking for work) that says something about the work ethic, an attitude problem exists, not a problem with the program. Cure the disease not the symptom.

Where I spent my first 7 years of life you couldn?t own a television (the year is 1982-89) as it would get stolen as soon as you left the house (Suburb Elizabeth West, city of Adelaide). Max you have never had to live in a place like this and I would sincerely whish that you stop criticising people you don?t understand at all, not all of them are the evil money grubbing monsters you make them out to be, very few are. Not every one gets a good start in life, and not everyone stays there (in a good start or a bad one).

Places similar to where I grew up are very small, and the extreme level of crime tends to stay centralized but if there were no alternatives, that area would be forced to expand, there is only so much to steal from the lowest income bracket.

I believe it when I see it, in addition to what I have seen (some of which is summarised above) there is what I can see, I can see more problems without welfare than we have with welfare.

I understand that you have not seen a lot of what I have seen nor can you see the problems I can and I don?t hold it against you. You sound (to me) like you were born with a silver spoon, I don?t mean this as a criticism merely an observation but take it how you wish. You should see how difficult it is for people trying to get out of poverty for yourself, to get the second side to your story. If you've lived in poverty before you'd be whistling a different tune.

Believe it when you see it Max, go and see it first hand prove me wrong.

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I can prove you wrong

by maxwell edison In reply to What is the next easiest ...

In fact, that's a no-brainer.

I can point to 1964 as the time when run-away social programs got their start with President Johnson's infamous War on Poverty programs. So we can use that year as the benchmark.

From 1900 to 1960, poverty in the United States had been on a decline, going down in numbers (both percentages and total) every decade. After this "War on Poverty", the trend started to reverse. My point being, that the War on Poverty caused more poverty, not less. It caused more dependence, not less.

But that's beside the point, isn't it? You mentioned crime rates, didn't you? And I challenged that, didn't I?

Let's look at the crime index for the Unites States:

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

There are numerous charts available from a variety of sources, but they all show the same thing. If you don't like mine, find another one. They will all show that from the early 60s all the way to the 1990s, the crime rate in the USA increased both steadily and dramatically.

In 1960, 15 percent of our federal budget went to social programs, while 65 percent went to defense. Today, 65 percent goes to social programs, while only 15 percent goes to defense. (The defense spending comparison is just a side-note.) The point being, that during the years social spending increased significantly, so did the crime rate. All one has to do is look at the years when there was less spending on social programs to see that your assertion is grossly incorrect. Less spending on social programs does not mean crime will increase, and the numbers bear that out. In fact, it could be argued that the exact opposite is true.

Now tell me, did you form your conclusion from real statistics that you researched, or did you just pull them out of your ......? No need to answer, as we all know what it is.

There ya' go. I proved you wrong, and not with speculation, but with verifiable facts. But I'm sure you won't admit it.

By the way, as an Australian, why in the heck do you want to debate me on what kind of social programs we should have in the United States? I'm amazed at how many of you "foreigners" (foreign to me, at least) jump into the fray concerning America's domestic policies, but I can't recall a single time when an American suggested to a Brit, a Canadian, or an Australian what they should do in their country. American foreign policy is something that you might have a vested interest in commenting on, but domestic issues such as this don't affect you one iota. It's an interesting phenomenon.

P.S. I have an answer to my last question.

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A more pressing social issue

by mjwx In reply to A comment

A major problem in my nation (Australia) and from what I can see, in the US as well is lack of community. No one knows each other as our lives slip into animosity from one another. How many people do we meet on the street each day? Damn few in my opinion. We need to start being sociable, stop being loners only concerned with ourselves (there are times for selfishness, like when negotiating for a pay rise or price of a car). This is not a "think of the children" kind of rant but a more "hi bob (bob lives down the street) how was your day" kind of rant, isn?t worth giving each other the time of day. Isolationism to me is not the answer.

There will always be those who disagree with me, whom wish to live in isolaiton and I say let them be separate on their own. This is a better defence against terrorism than surveillance, torture and detention. Why would the government need to watch us when we communicate with each other, when Stan notices that a house down the street is being burgled he should call the police but alas this is not the case, stan would rather not bother with the lives of others.

Current social trends (not bothering with the lives of others) make it very easy for a hateful person to hide. What if others were trying to interact with them, truly hateful people would be much easier to detect.

I think I should be having this conversation with one of my neighbours not people half way around the world (Albeit you are a great bunch of people).

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Another's opinon

by maxwell edison In reply to Oh god help me, I'm going ...

Each year since 2004, on Sept. 17, we commemorate the 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution by 39 American statesmen. The legislation creating Constitution Day was fathered by Sen. Robert Byrd and requires federal agencies and federally funded schools, including universities, to have some kind of educational program on the Constitution.

I cannot think of a piece of legislation that makes greater mockery of the Constitution, or a more constitutionally odious person to father it -- Sen. Byrd, a person who is known as, and proudly wears the label, "King of Pork." The only reason that Constitution Day hasn't become a laughingstock is because most Americans are totally ignorant of, or have contempt for, the letter and spirit of our Constitution.

Let's examine just a few statements by the framers to see just how much faith and allegiance today's Americans give to the U.S. Constitution. James Madison is the acknowledged father of the Constitution. In 1794, when Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief for French refugees who fled from insurrection in San Domingo (now Haiti) to Baltimore and Philadelphia, James Madison said disapprovingly, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."

Today, at least two-thirds of a $2.5 trillion federal budget is spent on "objects of benevolence." That includes Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, aid to higher education, farm and business subsidies, welfare, etc., ad nauseam.

James Madison's vision was later expressed by Rep. William Giles of Virginia, who condemned a relief measure for fire victims. Giles insisted that it was neither the purpose nor a right of Congress to "attend to what generosity and humanity require, but to what the Constitution and their duty require."

Some presidents had similar constitutional respect. In 1854, President Franklin Pierce vetoed a bill to help the mentally ill, saying, "I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity," adding that to approve the measure "would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded."

President Grover Cleveland vetoed many congressional appropriations, often saying there was no constitutional authority for such an appropriation. Vetoing a bill for relief charity, President Cleveland said, "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit."

Constitutionally ignorant people might argue that the Constitution's "general welfare" clause justifies today's actions by Congress. Here's what James Madison said: "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions." Thomas Jefferson echoed, in a letter to Pennsylvania Rep. Albert Gallatin, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."

James Madison explained the constitutional limits on federal power in Federalist Paper No. 45: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined . . . [to] be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce."

Here are my questions to you: Has our Constitution been amended to authorize federal spending on "objects of benevolence"? Or, is it plain and simple constitutional contempt by Congress, the president, the courts and, worst of all, the American people? Or, am I being overly pessimistic and it's simply a matter of constitutional ignorance?

-- Dr. Walter E. Williams, George Mason Univversity

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Just wait.

by TonytheTiger In reply to Another's opinon

There's been a recent rash of metal thefts around here (I mean, stealing rolls of wire, tearing the gutters and aluminum siding off of houses, etc.) for their scrap value, which has increased of late. It invariable happens in the latter half of the month, and during the day. That the perpetrators are able-bodied is pretty obvious, as is the fact that these perpetrators don't have day jobs. It's better than even odds that they don't have night jobs either, else they'd be sleeping during the day. The fact that the thefts occurred in the latter part of the month seems to indicate that they ran out of whatever money they had, and were stealing as a way to get more.

I'm just waiting for someone to recommend a tax increase, used to pay these people more at the first of the month, so they won't steal at the end. It won't have anything to do with benevolence. They'll call it a crime prevention program!

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mumble, mumble

by DanLM In reply to Oh god help me, I'm going ...

Knew I should have kept my mouth shut.

lol

Dan

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You're wrong

by Tig2 In reply to mumble, mumble

I appreciate Max's views but I appreciate your position as well.

I know you. You have paid back every dime and continue to.

I am sorry that you think that you should have kept your mouth shut. I know that Max's intention is to help you to understand that you could have flown regardless. And that you could have seen something new in yourself.

Before the 3 Day, I felt that I had taken a boatload from everyone else. I had a rare opportunity to see what I could do on my own and recognise that it was MINE. My effort, my success.

Do I share that? YOU BET. Without people here- together and individually- I wouldn't have had the fight. I did the heavy lifting- you all were right behind me.

My position 3 years ago sucked. I got through it. Your position sucked too. You got through it. I am glad to know that there is a person in the world who benefitted without hanging forever on the taxes I paid.

Max and I may disagree on some of the nuances but we agree on the same principle- you find the finest stuff in you when you can keep going when all the chips are down against you.

Of all the people in the world, you have a place where you could be a voiciferous cry for all the "down-trodden" in the world. Instead you are a voice for change, a voice for being more. You understand that staying there could not be a life choice. You were able to come forward and be what you are meant to be.

I understand Max's position. But I understand yours as well. After all, I was looking for help too. I got to see a part of life that I don't appreciate today. But I got to see a part that I DO appreciate.

If there wasn't medical help at that time of my life, I would be dead now, or dying without hope. I'm still here because those programmes exist. I made it because I COULD.


Edit- typo

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Not sure if I completely agree

by jdclyde In reply to mumble, mumble

how low would things have gotten? The deeper the hole, the longer to climb back out?

I am against abuse of the systems. I am not against someone getting a helping hand to get through a short term problem.

Right now the job market is horrible in Michigan. We have the highest unemployement in the country and thanks to all the union people voting democrat-no-matter-what, we are continuing to get WOREST, not better.

The only time we had a drop in the unemployement rate recently was because we had a lot of our work force leave the state to try to find jobs. Technically the rate went down, but that is because there were just less unemployeed people living here.

I have no idea if the Katrina "victims" that are in Michigan are counted in these figures.

I see my EX staying sadly underemployed for a long time.

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MUMBLE, MUMBLE!!!

by Absolutely In reply to mumble, mumble

I know this is likely to seem confrontational, but that is not my purpose. While you were receiving government assistance, did you also seek any private source of assistance outside your family & personal acquaintances? The reason I ask is not to be sarcastic, but because there was once a time that private charities actually made a difference in society, helping people experiencing temporary bad luck. I blame government itself (meaning all of society, not recipients of government assistance) for obscuring and overshadowing the existence of private sources of financial assistance. The Great Depression was a tragic aberration, not a valid excuse for universal collectivism.

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