Trying To Put My Head Around a Billion Dollars

Logo of the Internal Revenue Service

The numbers being thrown around on the news these days are mind-boggling. Most of us can’t put a handle on the spending that goes on in the Federal Government. It is absolutely immense.

As an exercise, I decided to estimate my lifetime earnings and compare it to a billion dollars. I began working at age eleven and didn’t stop until I was seventy. That is a cool fifty-nine years of making money.  In the beginning my salary was modest compared to today’s standards. At graduation from college, my starting salary was $6800/year. My jobs were always good paying ones and I never complained about how much I made. Engineering paid well during my career. I estimate that I earned two million dollars over that fifty-nine year period (If only I had that 2 mil in my 401K today). Before you think of me as a hyper millionaire think about that. The 2 million over fifty-nine years averages out as $33,898 per year. I also estimate that I paid taxes of around four hundred and twenty thousand dollars over those same years.

Where am I going with this? I’m trying to put my head around a billion dollars.  It takes five hundred above average people, just like me, fifty-nine years to earn a billion dollars. Yet, we see the Feds throwing billions around like a billion was chump change. Now ramp that number up to a trillion, and it takes 500,000 people fifty-nine years to earn that much.

I still can't get the size of the number into my head

Last week, we learned that 289,000 federal workers collectively owe 3.4 billion dollars in taxes ($11,764 average per person).  That is not trivial. It seems to me the Chief Executive who continues to harp on us to pay more should put some executive pressure on the people who work directly for him. Well, you argue, they have the same rights as the rest of us, and must be treated under the same rules. I’m here to tell you that the IRS challenged one of my returns because I failed to claim  $2000 of income on one return, and they did it within two months after I filed. They also expected me to resolve things within thirty days or be faced with further audit. The difference between me, and federal workers is they know the administration will not go after them. They are the privileged. All it would take is one phone call from the BOSS to the head of the IRS and his wish would become their command. Why isn’t it happening?

It is not happening because the hype about taxing the rich has nothing to do with needing money, it is about exerting power and demonizing the “rich.”

Since the economy took a dump in 2008, I have personally cut my expenses by twenty percent. I feel that is not enough, and I am looking for more ways to economize because my 401K is shrinking fast.

My attitude was that I couldn’t afford not to have something because I am old and may not live to enjoy it. Now, my attitude is keep the nest egg, because if the economy collapses and inflation hits, I will be standing in the soup line with everyone else.

Let the government cut twenty percent before they begin squeezing us for more. If we don’t nag our representatives to cut spending and to do their jobs how in the world will we ever get this monster under control?

3 Responses

  1. Good job, Joe I’m with you, It’s time for them to pay-up! Bob

    • Bob; If every tax cheat paid up, Obama would have more money than he knew what to do with.
      Thanks for reading and sharing.

  2. Grumpa, its hard to control THOSE who think the constitution was written for THEM to tell us what we must sacrifice in order for THEM to live the good life at our expense. Probably 90% of the POLITICIANS have never read the entire constitution or would understand it if they did. Chuck

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