Thursday, March 26, 2009

$100 trillion zillion

So the other day I was leaving for work when a political ad came on the Tee Vee. It was from some right-wing group expressing opposition to Barack Obama's budget plans. The ad ended by citing a statistic claiming that Congress was spending "$1 billion dollars an hour."

Now, when you run the numbers, $1 billion dollars an hour adds up to $8.7 trillion dollars in a year. And nothing near that amount has been proposed by anyone. So I was curious where that figure cam from. I think I've figured it out. The figure came from Mitch McConnell.

“In just 50 days, Congress has voted to spend about $1.2 trillion between the Stimulus and the Omnibus,” McConnell says. “To put that in perspective, that’s about $24 billion a day, or about $1 billion an hour—most of it borrowed. There’s simply no question: government spending has spun out of control.”
Of course, this is a pretty stupid way of looking at things. After all, congress isn't actually spending $1 billion an hour. It has merely voted a stimulus plan and a budget within 50 days of Obama taking office. The simple fact is, you can make any budget seem outrageous with shenanigans like these. You could, for instance focus on the amount of time it took to congress to vote on the budget and claim, with similar justification, that in just a few minutes congress voted to spend $600 billion dollars, which amounts to something like $100 trillion zillion an hour.

1 comment:

Zach said...

Congress probably spends $1 billion/hr every year if you take the total budget and divide by the number of days congress is in session times 24 hours. The budget was $3B last year and will be over $4B this year.

Point being, McConnell should've waited until the budget was passed to do his math and he probably would've come up with $2 or $3B/hour.