Some Stimulating Thought On The Stimulus

by Curt Kovener curt-line.jpg

We’re hearing a lot about how we all need a stimulus right now. Those of you who sat through Frances Benham’s and Corean Lewis’ literature and English classes at CHS no doubt know that a stimulus is something that incites to action or quickens action, an incentive. And you’ll remember from health class that a stimulant is something that temporarily quickens some vital process or functionality of some organ or part. Caffeine and alcohol are considered stimulants to our human body.

But these are not quite the kinds of stimulants our national leaders have been talking about. Though I will admit that with the shape of the economy, job layoffs, a wallowing stock market, some of us may be trying more of one of those stimulants I mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

The President wants a stimulus totaling $900,000,000,000. I think I have enough zeros to accurately reflect that number but 900 billion is a difficult number for me to conceptualize.

So maybe if I broke that down to a per person amount, it would help us. According to various internet search engines, the US population is 300,000,000 people.

Now all I have to do is divide the money by the people to come up with a per person amount.

But my calculator won’t allow me to use that many zeros so I had to resort to the old school way of long division I learned in Mr. Bard’s math classes. If I still know how to cancel out and extrapolate, a $900 billion dollar stimulus breaks down to $3,000 for every man, woman and child living in the U.S.

Of course those now fiscally responsible, thrifty Republicans (the same ones who back in September pushed through a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street and the banking industry thus ensuring the multiple million dollar bonuses those financial leaders of failing institutions so richly deserved) only want each of us to get just $2,756 each.

But three grand each amounts to a lot of money. The Southern California (that ought to tell us a lot right there) single mother of the recently birthed artificially inseminated octuplets (to go with six other similarly created children at home)—that’s 14 children under age 7—would get a $45,000 household stimulus. Which should go a long way considering she has no husband and no job and is living off disability payments and the kindness of friends.

For my household, we would receive $6,000 which doesn’t begin to recoup the loss of retirement investments we had before the “we don’t want no regulation, let the business regulate itself” stock market crash cost my family.

For many pre-seniors (as in gray hair & still working), we will enter our “golden years” with less gold in them.

For years we have read accounts of how little Americans saved. Now that we need people to spend money to buy things to get the economy going, we are all scared and…you guessed it…saving more thus adding to the economic woes.

It is said that “Time is money.” But now thanks to the economy, I now have more time than money. Perhaps another example using time would help us understand how much 900 billion is.

Nine hundred billion seconds equals about 2,852 years. For my Baptist friends, if we started a clock (which had yet to be invented) when Jesus was born, today we still have more than 800 years to go—somewhere around the year 2848—before we reach 900 billion seconds.

Even after trying to conceptualize it, I still have difficulty understanding it other than it is a durned BIG number.