Ten Billion Dollars A Day

Rich Galen
By Rich Galen | February 27, 2009 | 6:35 AM EST

I cannot believe it is the end of February already. It seems like just yesterday that Lehman Brothers collapsed in what was then the biggest bankruptcy in history, but that was way back in mid-September before Sen. Obama was elected President.
President Barack Obama unveiled his budget for next year (the Federal government's next fiscal year begins on October 1, 2009) and it comes out to about $3.6 TRILLION dollars.
If we pretend there are 360 days in a year, that works out to Ten Billion Dollars a day, $417 Million an hour. $6.9 Million per minute. $115,000 per second. Every second. Starting at one second after Midnight on October 1, 2009.
I did that calculation about five times, but regular readers of MULLINGS know that no matter how many times I run the figures, I am so mathematically challenged that I am perfectly capable of missing by an order of magnitude or two.
The 2009 budget includes those famous "tax increases on the rich" we've heard so much about and on which Obama ran. This is one of those "it depends on where you're standing" deals.
If you're standing behind the cash register at Safeway you think people who make $250,000 or more a year should pay more taxes. If you're standing in your small business which employs 15 people and you are an "S-Corp" (meaning the profits or losses of your business accrue to your personal tax return) then you think you're paying just about enough taxes already, thank you very much.
I don't know the answer, but my strong bias is to leave taxes where they are because everything else is so fragile.
More on the Budget. The Obama team is using the economic crisis exactly the same way the Bush team used 9/11: To expand the powers of the Executive Branch on the theory that the nation is in grave danger and exceptional times require exceptional actions.

The Bush Boys gave us the Patriot Act. The Obama Minions are giving us a theory of government which will make the New Deal look like Ronald Reagan's second term.
The Obama budget is not just about the money. It is about taking the control that the Obama Administration already has over banks, insurance companies, and auto manufacturing and using that as a starting point.
As we fight through this very real economic crisis look for the Administration to control how many employees companies can lay off; which, if any, benefits they can cut; and ultimately what they can or cannot buy, produce or sell.
The era of capitalism which has its roots in the mercantilism of 17th century Europe, later codified by Adam Smith in 1776 when he published "Wealth of Nations," is over.
Capitalism had a pretty good ride for four hundred years, but we are entering a new era - yet to be defined or named - and you can either swim against the current, or hop on your surfboard and paddle like hell to catch the wave.
In my quest to personally end the recession through retail purchases, I bought one of those e-book readers from called a Kindle. It is very cool and I have a link to my review of the Kindle on the Secret Decoder Ring Page which you can get to by clicking HERE.
Last thing. I am now a fully functioning member of Facebook. Although everyone I ask denies it, I think that the number of "friends" you have on Facebook is important.
If you are a regular reader of MULLINGS, I think that qualifies us as "friends," don't you?
I need you to go to Facebook and "friend" me. Not that I'm the least bit competitive, you understand.
So, class, what's the answer to the question, "How many days hath February?"
$280 Billion worth of days.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to a timeline showing the collapse of Lehman Brothers, to Adam Smith, and my review of the new Kindle 2.0 reader from Amazon. Also a Mullfoto left over from Inaugural Weekend and an indecipherable Catchy Caption of the Day.