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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

US Economy: How big is a million dollars? Fun with money!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Anyone who tells you that "The economy is turning around" have obviously not been to the grocery store lately. My opinion is that our economy is still in a state of free fall and many signs point to it being nowhere near the "bottom".

I recently spoke about a survey that found 2/3 of CEOs have a clear business plan, but no faith in their employees to carry out their job. That attitude has now been converted into action. No pay raises were given to most people, yet the cost of living is sky rocketing. All new projects are being sent to two places: the project management is going to India , while the engineering and manufacturing all goes to China.

Many months ago the United Nations spoke of an imminent food crisis. They predicted a massive food shortage not from a lack of food production, but because of the increasing price of food. The UN World Food Program estimates that 1 in 6 people do not get enough food to be healthy. This comes out to be over one billion people.

Out of the five key causes of hunger, four of them can be controlled by man:
1. Natural Disasters
2. Conflict
3. Poverty
4. Poor Agricultural infrastructure
5. Over-exploitation of the environment

In a recent blog entry, I went over the state of our economy and how our issues compare to the rest of the world. The state governments have a deficit of over $166 billion, which rises to over $311 billion by 2011.

In spite of the $787 billion "bail out", the total bill for the federal government relief program could reach over $23.7 TRILLION!

These are some mighty big numbers to swallow, and I don't know of anyone who can actually wrap their head around the magnitude of this crisis. I thought it might be fun to run these numbers for myself and find a way to visualize this much money. I won't even try to explain 23 trillion, so let's just talk about the "bailout" in terms of billions of dollars.

How "big" is a million dollars?
A million dollars in $100 bills weigh 22 pounds.
A billion dollars in $100 bills would weigh 22 thousand pounds.
The $787 billion bailout was 17,314,000 (over 17 million) pounds of money.

Okay, 17 million pounds of $100 bills is still too big to imagine - so let's convert the $100 bills into gold. Gold is currently $975 per ounce, so a pound of gold is worth $15,600. A billion dollars of gold would be 64,102 pounds, so the bailout was worth over 50,448,274 (fifty million) pounds of gold. There are 2000 pounds in a US ton, so it would be 25,224 (over twenty-five thousand) TONS of GOLD!!!

Current US Population: 307,254,233 (over 300 million people)
Current World Population: 6,779,542,289 (almost 7 billion people)

If we split the bail out between each person (man, woman and child) in America, we each would owe $2563.40.

Even if we split it into each person on the planet, we each would still owe $116.08 and remember - this is only talking about the money that has already been spent on the first "stimulus package".

This might be funny if this wasn't our money!

-- Gary Wright II

P.S. My mother was a teacher and my sister is a math professor, so I sure hope all of my numbers are correct!

PPS - If you send me your $100 bills, I will weigh them for you!

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