Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Numerology in Late November, 2008

Today the federal government gave our ailing financial institutions another 800 billion dollars in loans and debt purchases. This figure is added to the original 700 billion dollar bailout from last month. This money, easy enough to print so long as green ink is available, will not be enough to fix the problem. Total defense spending in the year 2007 was 549 billion dollars. Specifically, war-related appropriations in Iraq and Afghanistan this year is approaching 200 billion dollars, while the current total from the original invasion up until now stands at 752 billion dollars. Last year national health care spending totaled 2.3 trillion dollars. This number is projected to grow to 3 trillion by the year 2011. (Meanwhile, the federal government’s budget for education this year is a modest 59 billion dollars.) These are big numbers. To what does one compare these numbers? The distance from the sun to the earth is 92 million miles. Millions, ha! Not nearly big enough. The universe itself is just under 14 billion years old. Still not big enough. (14 billion dollars is roughly 6% of what the government paid in interest on its loans in 2007.) The diameter of the universe is at least 93 billion light years, or 880 x 10^24 meters. Okay, that’s a pretty big number, but only if we measure in meters, and that’s like measuring these financial figures in pennies. Our market numbers have eclipsed those of our vast natural universe. This unsettles me. But what do I know? I’m sure our markets still have plenty of room to grow. 880,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000 meters worth! So, go ahead, Feds, print that money.