I'm going to join in beating the hell out of this dead horse just a little more, because I enjoy nothing more than the feel of my bruised knuckles meeting sharply with bony, decaying equine flesh when the occasion presents itself, although the incessant buzzing of the thick black clouds of flies drawn by the sickly smell of death does get irritating.
(That introduction may have gotten a little out of hand. I apologize to anyone offended by the desecration of horse carcass.)
I guess I should mention that the horse in question is the debate over the proposed $700 billion economic bailout, well thrashed by now by people who know a lot more about the situation than I do. Given my almost total lack of understanding, I really can't form an opinion on whether or not a bailout in any dollar amount is a sound economic strategy. Maybe the shit will work like magic and Christmas will see us once again stacking hundred-dollar bills under our yule logs for kindling.
But it seems to me the problem with the whole thing is that most politicians are not economists (I don't trust economists anyway; econ majors in college were all a bit shady and their love of Adam Smith was a little too cult-like for comfort) and none of us can conceive of a number like 700 billion. That's a lot of cheese. As commenter C. Monkey stated in response to Beej's thorough dissection of the subject, "That’s 1,292,705,447 Playstation 3’s (with tax!). " I don't doubt C. Monkey's math, but that also happens to be enough money (according to yet another MSNBC piece) to underwrite health insurance for the entire country, convert a sizable portion of our energy sector to clean renewables (solar!), or completely fix our nation's crumbling infrastructure. Perhaps all three, even. Better yet, $700 billion could finance another seven years of military operations in Iraq, which is good because supposedly there are a few scattered families in that country who have not yet lost any children in the crossfire! Wouldn't want to leave the job unfinished!
Ahem. My point is that I'm not sure we grasp the enormity of the idea of putting that much money in the hands of the people who fucked up to begin with. I know the government sees it as an investment and expects to get it back with a little profit to boot, but until (and if) that happens, that'll be $700 billion less we have to invest in things like education and every other aspect of running a nation. And in case you've forgotten, "the government" is you, and that works out to over $2,000 for every man, woman, and child in this country. Better put another notch in the ol' belt and get ready to tighten it up.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go wash my hands. They reek of dead horse.
(Gosh, after ripping MSNBC last week, I sure have mined their better efforts for my own interests lately.)