Monthly Archives: September 2008

Choices, choices

The American government has been spending a lot of money lately.  The Federal Reserve backed a $29 billion guarantee to help J.P, Morgan Chase buy Bear Steans.  Then the Fed took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, pledging up to $100 billion per agency.  Most recently, the Fed loaned a cool $85 billion to A.I.G., apparently so it doesn’t go under.

Now news comes from East Africa, via the United Nations, saying that nations in the horn of Africa need $700 million to make sure that 17 million people don’t starve to death, according to the BBC.

Note that that is million, not billion.  East Africa needs $700 MILLION.

Just to put into perspective the enormous difference between a million and a billion:

  • a million seconds is one week, four days, and change.
  • a billion seconds is 31 years, 251 days, and change.

So, million and billion sound alike, but are actually, well, an order of magnitude different.

I know we need to invest some money to save the economy.  But maybe just a smidgen to save 17 million people would be a good idea too.  I’m just saying.


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