Saturday, October 04, 2008


Most of us, myself included, cannot even envision a billion dollars. However, I read somewhere that, if a billion dollars were counted as years, we would be back in the time that Jesus roamed the earth. So, when Congress tacks on another billion to the $700 billion we are now using to fish out the mortgage lenders who bilked the public out of tons of money and now will be able to breathe a little easier while they conspire to continue their path to untold riches, we are taking those years back even further.

If a billion dollars were counted as a year, and if a billion would extend us in years back to Jesus' time, if one considered the trillions we owe China and other countries in the National Debt, we would now be back in the time of creation, past the Neanderthals, past the birth of earth itself, and into a Black Hole swallowing up exploding stars and floating about the universe of space.

Since I am no economic genius, and I gauge the plight of the country by the local price of a gallon of gas or a loaf of bread, I cannot fathom a billion dollars and trying to envision a trillion really strains my mentality. It is easier for me to call it the name that Dennis Kucinich created, since he probably has the same trouble that I do trying to understand it all. "We owe a GAZILLION dollars," said Kucinich, and that about says it all.

Out of a Gazillion dollars, some of it has been given out in what is called Earmarks. Now, to me, an Earmark is the impression your ears leave on a soft pillow after a good night's sleep, but to a politician, an Earmark is a bonus given to certain constituents to guarantee his re-election. If one gives a Teapot Museum to a little town, the citizens of that town are supposed to be so delighted that they vow eternal gratitude and vote for the fellow who bestowed this gift upon them. This is why our $700 billion Bailout, which stretches us in years back to earth's creation, has about $1.5 billion in Earmarks tacked onto it, which brings the total of our generous, heartfelt pity for the mortgage lenders up to about 9 billion bucks and sends us in years even further back in time!

Now, these Earmarks that plumped up the total Bailout are absolutely necessary! Who could resent giving tax breaks to a wooden arrow factory? Every kid needs a wooden arrow to be able to reach adulthood, wouldn't you agree? Never mind that a few of them may practice their skills on a younger sibling or pierce the cover of the living room couch! That's beside the point. As citizens of a great, formerly rich country, we should back our wooden arrow makers, right? At least they are not candy manufacturers using milk products in China and poisoning our babies with melamine! That wooden arrow manufacturer is located right here in the good old U.S.A. and is a remnant of the golden age of manufacture that used to be located right here! Perhaps we should establish a Wooden Arrow Museum to show our gratitude.

Another Earmark that caught my fancy was the tax break given to a woolen company that presumably makes woolen clothing. My knowledge of this transaction does not include the amount given or the location of the company, but what caught my fancy is the fact that this company uses urine collected in foreign lands and, of course, needs money to ship these sloshing containers. This evidently is used in the process of creating good wool, which just about does it for that collection of sweaters in my closet! If they are formed from the urine of some Indian or Chinese worker, I am not sure I want to wear them on a daily basis.

My question is, what is wrong with American urine? Could this be called discrimination? Is there some prejudice and bigotry involved? Why is foreign urine better than anyone else's? Does mango juice do something to urine that makes it superior to others? The problem is, would the American people donate their urine to help a company process their wool? It would certainly save shipping costs and port fees. Perhaps I could wear a sweater with a little more comfort if it were processed with my own urine. I am not sure about that, but it's a thought.

Do you see how deeply involved I am in the problems of International commerce? One has to study these problems incessantly to try to save America from bankruptcy and protect our meager finances that we entrust to local banks. We are told that we can rest assured that our savings are insured by our entirely trustworthy and financially astute government. We are told to hang onto our $401K's and trust our Earmark Experts to handle our financial affairs. We cannot have a run on the banks! That would lead to traffic jams and irritable encounters with frenzied bank officials! Besides, where would you put the money? You can't wear a money belt and still have a svelte waistline. You can't put it in the cookie jar, because the kids would celebrate the new kind of cookies. You are stuck with your dubious trust in a government that seems to be loaded with utter dingbats.

My solution to all of this is simple. If we could discover where Dick Cheney deposits his money, we could all use that bank. I have a feeling that Dick Cheney will not leave office broke, no matter what happens to the country. If he would share his banking information, we could all undoubtedly benefit. Perhaps he keeps his money in Iraq, alongside the oil profits the Iraqi government has piled up. Would it be unpatriotic for American citizens to place their money in a Green Zone bank? As President Bush has said many time, "Better there than here!"