Sunday, January 10, 2010

Good Thing these People aren't in Charge of our Economy


A couple days ago, I received what I initially thought was an interesting proposal that might actually work. I occasionally get puzzles that other people can't figure out, like the triangle rearranging puzzle and the missing card magic trick and various math-based puzzles. And then I did the math on this one.

Here, let me share with you this particular spam that people have been conned into spreading, so that you can give anyone dumb enough to keep spreading it a well-deserved smackdown. (Or you could sign them up for a beatdown. I'm still running the free special.)

There recently was an article in the St. Petersburg Fl. Times. The Business Section asked readers for ideas on: "How Would You Fix the Economy?" I think this guy nailed it!

Dear Mr. President,
Please find below my suggestion for fixing America 's economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the "Patriotic Retirement Plan":

There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed.
2) They MUST buy a new American CAR. Forty million cars ordered. Auto Industry fixed.
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage. Housing Crisis fixed.

It can't get any easier than that!!
P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress pay their taxes...
Mr. President, while you're at it, make Congress retire on Social Security and Medicare. I'll bet both programs would be fixed pronto!

Okay, to get the small potatoes out of the way, yeah, I agree that Congress should be subjected to the same crap they subject us to, but for some reason, no one's watching these watchers nor holding them accountable, so they get to do whatever they want because no one seems to care to hold them to the higher standard they're supposed to be held to.

With that out of the way, let's talk about the reason I'm making this post: On the surface, though this seems like an unusual plan, it might be one that could work. After all, we spend billions on all kinds of ridiculous things, why not something that would actually help? Unless, of course, we do the math.

It seems that this plan has a critical flaw: We don't have $40 TRILLION to spare. That's about the size of the whole WORLD'S economy (according to this page).

I pointed this out to the person who sent it to me, and she politely responded, "I believe giving $1 million each to 40 million people would cost only $40,000,000, not $40 trillion."

See, people don't do the math, and then they wind up embarrassing themselves. They walk into some place like Taco Bell and buy off their *cough* value menu *cough* without ever doing the math to see if they're actually saving anything. (Shockingly, they're not.) They walk into a convenience store and buy... well,... anything. They create grief for other people without ever realizing that in the end, they're creating grief for themselves too.

Whether it's someone creating spam or someone hacking into computers or someone being a total jerk to others or a public official abuses his or her power or we the public let that happen, we all lose.

And there's a second issue here: unbridled belief. There are entirely too many people who have blind belief in things that they don't take a moment to examine logically. I'm talking things from believing that a million million is still a million all the way to people believing that they can't make a difference in the world, or that we should turn off our brains and disacknowledge the patently obvious around us.

Things like Evolution. It's been proven, as much as something like that can be, and yet, there are people so violently opposed to it that they have to have some kind of warning sticker on books that teach it. Millions of dollars are wasted fighting the truth. Strangely, these same people have no problem whatsoever accepting the medical benefits that the Theory of Evolution conveys. Instead these people want to teach Creationism as if it were science. Hello!?! Creationism has nothing to do with science! Science is about finding out how God (or your deity of choice) made the Universe, not about saying, "God made the Universe". Science is about discovering God's miracles; it can't possibly prove or disprove His existence unless He wants it to.

I have someone else who fervently believes that we can't possibly damage the Earth, that we have exactly how much oil we need and there's no need to worry, that someone will find the way. And yet, it's precisely that worrying about the oil running out that motivates us humans to find some other source of energy. Perhaps she's right, and God will give us the answer when we need it, or maybe He expects us to take care of ourselves and clean up our own mess. I don't know about you, but when the Big Man comes for a visit, I don't want the house He left me to be in a shambles.

"So what the hell are you saying, Jaycee?" you're dying to ask. I'll tell you... over the course of the next few years... but I'm willing to bet some of you have already gotten the gist of what I'm saying. In the meantime, keep watching this space.


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