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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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I agree... seriously.

by TonytheTiger In reply to MUMBLE, MUMBLE!!!

but because there was once a time that private charities actually made a difference in society, helping people experiencing temporary bad luck.

In fact, they used to be the primary funders of such help!

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.

I think there are several contributors to this:

1. Since the government started taking money from us to do this, the taxpayers cannot be as charitable as they might otherwise be.

2. It used to be that a needy person would ask for help from the local people. They knew the person, knew what the problem was, and knew what was needed to fix it. Sometimes that was money, but most often not (If he's hungry and thirsty give him food and water. If he's cold and tired give him a warm blanket and a place to rest his head). They also knew when the person was either faking all along or got 'too comfortable' and they would cut the person off. Today the decision is made by applying the answers to a few questions into a hard-coded policy interpreted by someone who has no idea who this person is or what his real problem is (those who would scam the system simply know all the 'right' answers). And the 'answer' is invariably money (which is probably not the best answer for several situations I can think of).

3. The above is compounded by a couple of factors: First is the inneffiency of the system. A significant portion of the tax is taken by paying the government employees who collect the taxes their wages, then more is taken by the government employees who pass out the benefits. The result is that it costs us more to have the government do it than to just do it ourselves.
Secondly, a 'not insignificant number' of government employees have figured out they can scam the system too. Outright fraud is relatively rare, thankfully, but they know good and well that the conditions that exist are the source of their bread and butter, and that if they manage to significantly relieve these conditions, they would be, in effect, working themselves out of a job! Trying to deal with this factor has ruined or burned out many employees who started out genuinely wanting to make a difference.

I think the answer is to move back toward the old ways. We can start by putting the money under the control of more local government, and replacing the 'career government employees' who currently make these determinations (of what kind and how much help is needed) with locally elected people (similar in structure, function, and authority to 'school boards').

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You got close near the end

by jdclyde In reply to I agree... seriously.

First of all, just like all other MAJOR issues, if you SOLVE the problem, then you lose a issue to rally people around.
Why do you think Social Security has never been modified?
Why do you think Global warming/cooling/shifts is still not seriously addressed?
Why do you think Jackson/Sharpton and many of the Democrats (political, not everyday people) do everything they can to make sure racism is alive and well?

They need a platform. They need a crisis.

The same is with the "War on Poverty" that has only increased the amount of people living in poverty. A more accurate name would be "War FOR Poverty". Keep the poor people poor so that you can come along and save the day with "government". Just enough to keep people going, but not EVER enough to let them flourish. And then make sure there are programs in place that penalize people on the system for TRYING to improve their situation! Yeah, that is a real cute one. X-(

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by neilb@uk In reply to You got close near the en ...

the "War on Terror" fit the recipe for a meaningless but emotive issue like your other examples?

Sureley even cuter than the "War on Poverty".

I won't even suggest that a better name would be the "War FOR Terror".

Oh, I just did...

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Neil: Look out, I agree

by maxwell edison In reply to You got close near the en ...

I've often said that terrorism is a tactic, not an entity against whom war is waged. I've also often said that this is one of the president's mistakes in identifying exactly what it is we're trying to do. That's one reason why I've adopted the war on Islamo-Fascism as a more accurate alternative.

I've often wondered what might have happened if, immediately after 9-11, the president would have asked our Congress for a formal declaration of war against every nation (or some nations) whose citizens were involved in any and all terrorist acts perpetrated against the United States since, for example, the first WTC bombing in 1993 -- including Iraq for the attempted assisination of former President Bush, their connection to that first WTC bombing, their support of terrorism tactics by paying a reward to the famlies of terrorists, and so on. The big stumbling block, of course, would be the inclusion of Saudi Arabia in that group of nations, even though they've publicly denounced and don't publicly support Osama bin Laden and other terrorist groups or their actions.

It would be an interesting declaration of war, to say the least, inasmuch as it would not necessarily mean an immediate initiation of hostilities against a country like Saudi Arabia, but compel them to publicly agree to, and sign some sort of agreement supporting the efforts to fight the Islamo-Fascists. In the case of that one country, it could have been a war declared and ended in a very short time without a shot being fired or diplomatic channels closed. Has anything like that ever happened that you know of?

In the case of Iran, Syria, or Pakistan, the declaration of war could be on the record, so to speak, with no start of hostilities in immediate sight, but it would have set the stage for any number of possible "next steps".

I haven't given this possible scenario a lot of thought, and I'm sure the repercussions would be significant (but so are the repercussions of the alternative that we did choose!), and I'm not doing much more than thinking out-loud. It probably wouldn't take too much from you (or someone else) to counter this argument with something more reasoned, and I would concede that it's a stupid idea. But who knows? Maybe not.

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American or European version?

by kevg In reply to How much is a "Billion"?

Are you talking about the American version of a billion or the European version?
One says its a Million Million and the other says its Hundred Thousand Million (1/10th less).

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In Tony's post, a billion is...

by TechExec2 In reply to American or European vers ...

In Tony's post, a billion is 1,000,000,000, one thousand million (by quick computation).

But, by your post, I just learned something today. According to the links below, there are in fact two definitions of what a "billion" means. Currently, in most English-speaking countries (including USA and UK), a billion is 1,000,000,000 (one thousand million). In most other countries outside of Asia, a billion is 1,000,000,000,000 (one million million, this is the "old English" definition).

So, THANKS A LOT, for screwing up my use of the word "billion"! :-)

Billion definition

What is a billion?

American vs. European Billion

P.S. So, it's better to be a "billionaire" in Germany than in the U.S., even better due to the exchange rate of Euros and U.S. Dollars! :-)

edit: Added P.S. and clarifications

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by Kiltie In reply to American or European vers ...

a billion is defined differently, here is the definition:

How many is a billion?
If you are American, it is undoubtedly 1,000,000,000. This amount is known to traditionally minded British people as `a thousand million', and by some more adventurous ones as a 'milliard', though this word has not made as much headway in English as in some other European languages. A trillion is then 1,000,000,000,000, and so on.

If you are British, on the other hand, a billion may be 1,000,000,000,000 (a million million), following the older convention.

If you are neither British nor American, you can take your pick! (Both systems were invented by the French, but are called 'British' and 'American' for convenience.)

Once the business world and the financial press found themselves discussing `thousand millions' so much, the 'American' system simply became more convenient, despite a certain lack of logical tidiness. (A 'British' trillion is the third power of a million, while the 'American' one is the fourth power of a thousand, and the 'American' system continues out of sync with the arithmetic). It also makes the profits sound bigger! The 'American' system is now standard use in British government publications, and is becoming the norm in many other languages


*** grin ***

Just wait until I can get on an american thread, there will be no stopping me, I have many things to say about how the US dominates the 'Net, the main thrust being how they assume everyone else on the WWW are US citizens!!!

WORLD WIDE WEB everyone, for God's sake

I once met a guy online, who thought the "Web" was Virginia, he couldn't understand how I, from Scotland, had gotten onto the Internet.
Straight up!!! not kidding.
Is this an example of a "Red Neck"? (he asks with tongue firmly planted in cheek)

Half my family are American, and my fiancee (partner for life) is American

..... I'd love to jump on my soapbox about this ;-)

The above quote references the French, I can have a go at them too, since my first wife was French

*** grin ***

EDIT: In then time it took me to type this, TechExec dived in, with some good links too, nice one mf
(mf=international shorthand for "my friend" and NOT what some Americans think!!!)

besides, no really good post is complete without an "Edit".... ask NB!
*** wink ***

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Thanks, mf

by TechExec2 In reply to incorrect

Thanks, mf (international version).

Now, if we can only get you folks to use the "correct" version of "billion", we won't have any more problems! :-) :^0

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by TonytheTiger In reply to American or European vers ...

the one I was referring to is one thousand million, or 10^9. The other one is equivalent to the American trillion, one million million, or 10^12.

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$250 Billion to rebuild New Orleans?? Ridiculous

by DMambo In reply to How much is a "Billion"?

Especially when you consider that the sea will still be towering over the city.

I mean, that's almost half of what it's costing us to depose a dictator opposed to Al Queda!!!!!

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