Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A billion here, a billion there

Our good friend, William McIntyre of Camp Hill, Pa., is back on his letter-writing crusade for better government after taking a break for the holidays (just like the Pennsylvania Legislature). Here is his latest:
To: Friends of Responsible Government
Gov. Edward Rendell will soon be giving his 2008 State of the State Address to our legislators and us, the residents of Pennsylvania. In his address, he will propose many programs costing us dollars, many dollars; billions of dollars.
Politicians are very comfortable using the term billions when speaking of the cost of their pet programs. You see – it’s not their money they spend – IT’S OURS! Have you ever really thought what a billion is? A friend of mine did and provided me with the following example.
"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 billion seconds ago it was 1959.
A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our (federal) government is spending it."
The description continues although it addresses our federal government’s spending; not the state. "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. 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."
Washington, D.C….HELLO!!!...Are all your calculators broken???"
In Gov. Rendell’s last budget of $27.3 billion; it was $1.2 billion higher than the previous year’s budget. What will the budget of 2008-2009 bring? I’m frightened to learn!

An OLD letter writer,
Bill McIntyre

Written hundreds - on my way to a billion (if needed for true and lasting PA government reform)
CC: Executive, Legislative & Judicial Branches of PA Government

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