I think people have problems understanding big numbers, and this is illustrated by the current uproar over the bonuses that AIG payed out.
AIG payed out 165 Million dollars in bonuses.
AIG has taken in around 130 Billion in bailout money from the government.
So that is like… LESS THAN ONE PERCENT. If you gave someone a dollar, would you be real upset if they wasted less than a penny of that? No, I don’t think you would.
I think that the problem here is that people assume anything that ends in “illion” is the same. Maybe Billion is a little bigger than Million, but not much. Oh what is that that you are saying? It is actually a thousand times bigger?
It is the same thing with earmarks. People are getting worked up over millions of dollars of earmarks in a trillions of dollar budget.
I don’t know who to blame. The media? Middle school math teachers? But come on. At least understand that there is a difference between millions and billions.
1 million = 1,000,000
1 billion = 1,000,000,000
1 trillion = 1,000,000,000,000
That’s a big difference, people.