I have long been frustrated with the dismissive nature on government spending and the national debt. We have gotten to a point now where we laugh off numbers that are astronomically large with silly quotes like “That is just a drop in the bucket”.
I have written, talked, and at times ranted about the waste, the over spending and the burden our debt is going to bring on this country. It has been met with apathy, lack of comprehension or sarcasm.
The American citizen has been convinced that spending $3.5 trillion dollars this year alone is some how not enough and that $17.9 trillion dollars in debt is manageable by our government.
I have never been able to present government spending in a way the average person can really grasp, until now. What I was missing was context.
The numbers are so large that they are incomprehensible for the average guy or gal, I would wager that 90% of Congress has no real grasp of just how big a trillion dollars really is?
It made me think of the distances in our own universe. The distances are so large human kind can’t grasp distances that far. Light travels at 186,000 miles/second it is the measuring stick of the universe. So scientists created the light year, in order to bring the numbers into a context that most people can understand.
We all know light is really fast and travels a long way in a short amount of time, so when we are told that the nearest star other than the sun is 4 light years away. We all realize that is long way away.
I am introducing the work year as a unit of measure for government spending and our national debt.
The Social Security Administration calculates the national average wage index. It takes into account all forms of earnings for every man, women, and child and comes up with a national average.
For 2013 the Nation Average Wage was $44,888.16
$44,888.16 = One Work Year
Let’s just see how many work years it takes to fund the absurdity that is the US government. Remember this is the average of wages for every American from Warren Buffett to the baby just born and what we earn in ONE year.
- Tom Coburn recently released his “Wastebook” which highlights the epitome of wasteful spending in Washington. It contains $10,000 to watch grass grow, $589,000 for giving rabbits a daily massage on-and-on. All told the abuses came in around $25 billion dollars, which was laughed off by many in the media as a small amount, “Drop in the bucket…”
- $25 billion in wasted spending takes 557,000 Work Years. Meaning 557,000 people will surrender their wages for one year in order to fund the complete and utter waste doled out by Washington.
- Federal Spending for 2013 was $3.5 trillion dollars which works out to 77.9 million Work Years. It takes the average wage for one year of 77.9 million Americans just to fund spending.
- The National Debt which stands at $17.9 trillion dollars or 398 million Work Years. Well there is only 330 million Americans, so some of you are going to have to sacrifice two work years. Should be a fun lottery, huh?
- For the record, it would take light at 186,000 miles/second 3 years to cover 17.9 trillion miles.
So the next time you hear “It is only a drop in the bucket” stop and think how much blood sweat, and tears from ordinary people it actually takes to create that drop.