MAN OF THE MOON, WITH CAMERAS, PLUS, DEFICIT REDUCTION: LET IT DEFAULT, SINCE THAT IS AMERICA’s BEST LONG-TERM OPTION … and … HOW MUCH IS $1 TRILLION
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
Man on the Moon: July 20, 1969
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, JULY 20, 2011) — Today marks the 42nd anniversay of Man on the Moon. Neil Armstrong planted his lunar boots into green cheese and botched his lines with the first words. THE PLANET vividly remembers the”one, small step for [a] man.” We watched the landing in the evening, on our Motorola Color TV, and thrilled to the sight. The Eagle had landed.
In the years to follow, American went back to the moon so many times it became as ordinary, though not as corrupt, as Pittsfield politics. There are those who still maintain that the event was staged, that NASA hired Stanley Kubrick to film the moon landing. THE PLANET doesn’t believe that at all. We know Sam Peckinpaugh filmed it for the Space Shots at Cape Canaveral.
Debt Compromise or Crisis: How Much is a Trillion Dollars?
So, what’s it going to be then, eh? Will it be compromise or collapse? Will the debt ceiling be raised or will the United States of America default on its fiscal obligations?
If you think about it, raising the debt ceiling is rather like a junkie taking more heroin to ease his withdrawal symptoms. He temporarily solves the problem of his discomfort by injecting more of the substance that has caused his difficulties in the first place. Allowing a default compares favorably with going cold turkey. The consequences are almost too painful to contemplate, yet the treatment takes care of the underlying cause of the addiction.In the long term, cold turkey provides the best option for the person’s health.
Yes, THE PLANET recommends letting the country default. In doing this, we do not minimize the consequences, which will be large. The country’s bond rating goes down, outside money stays away, and … and, God forbid, America will have to start living within its substantial means.
No, Gordon Gecco. We Is Not Good
America has been debt-addicted since the 1980s, as the central banks flooded the monetary system with oceans of new money, dollars not pegged to value but allowed to float nebulously on nothing more than trust. The decision to keep raising the debt ceiling to its current amount proved the promises behind that new money to be worthless. No one seemed bothered by this. Thus, we took what could have been a much more manageable problem and kept making it worse by raising the debt limit.
The nation, states, cities, and individuals indulged in the reckless spending that fake “prosperity” of the new money seemed to guarantee. Easy and endless “free” money in the form of borrowing caused speculation. Speculation bred bubbles. Bubbles burst.
You need only look at the high tech bubble of the early 2000s and the housing-real estate-mortgage bubble of the remainder of the decade until the September 2008 collapse for illustration.
Gang of Six Attempts to Rumble with the Problem
The latest attempt to grapple with the looming Aug. 2 default deadline involves the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives of a bill that would government spending slash $6 trillion and constitutionally require a balanced budget. The White House promises to veto the plan while it backs a more modest Senate compromise spurred by a bipartisan group called the Gang of Six.
Who’s right. Where does it go? Wall Street voted for the compromise. Yesterday the Dow soared 202 points. The debt ceiling would be raised above the current 14.2 trillion debt ceiling.
Part of the problem is how desensitized we have become to how much $1 trillion represents. So, how much is $1 trillion? Look at this, taken from pagetutor.com:
A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2″ thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.
Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it.
While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet…
And $1 BILLION dollars… now we’re really getting somewhere…
Next we’ll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we’ve been hearing so much about. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it’s a million million. It’s a thousand billion. It’s a one followed by 12 zeros.
You ready for this?
It’s pretty surprising.
Ladies and gentlemen… I give you $1 trillion dollars…
Notice those pallets are double stacked.
…and remember those are $100 bills.
So the next time you hear someone toss around the phrase “trillion dollars”… that’s what they’re talking about.