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Author Topic: How could you spend three trillion?  (Read 1440 times)

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Offline kongmingTopic starter

How could you spend three trillion?
« on: April 15, 2008, 09:45:41 PM »
I wasn't too sure where to put this - it's *almost* Comedy. However, the intent of the website was to make a political statement, that statement being "The Bush Administration sets too much money on fire instead of actually helping people."

http://3trillion.org/

Enjoy. How could you spend 3 trillion dollars? Surely it'd be better than how they have. I housed the entirety of America, gave the country a universal Health Care system for everyone, bought a secret island base in the Bahamas, bought something like 30 pounds of jelly beans (I'm broke, the government seems to have decided not to pay me, with no advanced warning of this, I'm hungry and my sugar levels are low. Of course I'd buy that), over a hundred crunchies, an ice cream maker, porn (one token DVD just so I can say I did it), switching the entirety of America to solar power, curing 3 deadly diseases, 4 years worth of stopping hunger and poverty-related diseases on a global scale, universal literacy, finishing the repairs for Katrina, ending reliance on foreign oil, and some other random snacks and things. I still had 700 billion dollars left, too. It's just a pity they didn't have opiates listed there for purchase, and I was too lazy to add them.

Note: 3 trillion could buy everyone on Earth a small television, a DVD player and porn. Tell me how this isn't a better idea than the colossal fuck-up in Iraq.

Offline Zakharra

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2008, 10:25:06 PM »
 I'm guessing this is a spoof sort of site. How can a government spend $3 trillion dollars? Easily. Politicians, bureaucracies and  special interest groups.  The Iraq war is only a small part of the mess, and has been thoroughly covered in other threads.

Offline kongmingTopic starter

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2008, 10:34:22 PM »
No, that's 3 trillion just on the war (actually, 2 trillion so far, and the last one is what they expect it will cost in the future). Bureaucracies, politicians, special interest groups and the CIA stealing losing billions of dollars in actual cash is its own separate mess. Likewise the failed war on drugs. This is just the war on Iraq.

At any rate, the site itself can really serve as a form of humour - so you can just imagine what you'd do with that money instead.

Online Jefepato

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2008, 10:38:59 PM »
Hilarious, but I call shenanigans on "ending hunger and poverty."  UN estimates or not, that's not something you can just spend money and do.

Offline kongmingTopic starter

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2008, 10:49:21 PM »
They did mention it'd cost that much per year, so I assume the error is in use of the word "end", and in actual fact it's more "stave off". So that much could keep people fed and the medicine distributed/water made drinkable, for a year. At the end of the year, you'd need to funnel money in again, but it's possible that some of the benefits would be lasting and people might be helping themselves a bit better.

Or maybe you would seriously need to pay that much every year. Really, the main things would be water purification and food/medicine distribution, as well as the right grains to grow in those areas - there are things that will grow into edible food for even the most barren places that people are determined to live.

Online Jefepato

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2008, 11:29:20 PM »
Distribution is the problem, really -- there's more than enough food in the world.

The reason distribution is a problem is because of corrupt governments that are inclined to seize the food instead of actually giving it to the people who need it, or who blithely do so in a way that floods the market and makes it impossible for the people there who produce food (absolutely the wrong people to be screwing over, of course) to sell it.

Let's face it: 50% malnutrition rates are not the result of governments who want their citizens to eat.

Offline Lovebug

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2008, 08:12:41 AM »
"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Dwight D. Eisenhower in his farewell address to the nation, 17 January 1961

This is my second favourite quote from Eisenhower. My favourite is his response to his brother Milton's questioning as to why he wouldn't, as president, publicly criticise his fellow Republican Joe McCarthy, which was "I will not get into a pissing contest with that skunk". Either way, Ike was no fool.

Offline Celestial Goblin

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2008, 08:44:45 AM »
Distribution is the problem, really -- there's more than enough food in the world.

The reason distribution is a problem is because of corrupt governments that are inclined to seize the food instead of actually giving it to the people who need it, or who blithely do so in a way that floods the market and makes it impossible for the people there who produce food (absolutely the wrong people to be screwing over, of course) to sell it.

Let's face it: 50% malnutrition rates are not the result of governments who want their citizens to eat.

There's also a matter of rich countries using subsidies to strong-arm the third world out of the market and thus keeping their farmers unable to develop and invest. Also, poverty, starvation and opressive goverments tend to be intertwined together and one reinforces the other. I'm afraid some parts of the world would require both food and a land military force to fix.

Offline Ignaddio

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2008, 12:22:28 PM »
Incidentally, it doesn't help matters when outside contractors who work for the government do things like charge $1100 for a polyurethane o-ring. I can get the same thing at an autoshop for around $10, if that.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2008, 12:28:26 PM »
Fun question. I would say build a time machine, go back to the original Constitutional Congress, bring all those people to now, show them around the US for a few months and then return them. And see if they can fix it so the Federal Government is truly castrated and chained beyond any ability to argue with. And put in an ironclad balanced budget clasue and maybe a limit of taxes at the Federal level of no more than 2% of one actual income. And maybe suggest they enforce a non-intervention in the document save if the United States native soil is attacked.

Well I'm a Libertarian Party member in the US so chaining down the Federal Government and enforcing a neutrality at the core document might be the best thing for this country.

 ;D

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2008, 12:40:59 PM »
Incidentally, it doesn't help matters when outside contractors who work for the government do things like charge $1100 for a polyurethane o-ring. I can get the same thing at an autoshop for around $10, if that.

Yes, but you don't have black ops budgets to hide, do you?  ;)

Offline robitusinz

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Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2008, 01:41:00 PM »
Hilarious, but I call shenanigans on "ending hunger and poverty."  UN estimates or not, that's not something you can just spend money and do.

Not for nothing, but $3 trillion divided amongst 300,000,000 Americans is $10,000 a piece.  I'm sure that even if I were homeless and destitute, someone giving me 10K is going to go a long way towards helping me get my life back on track.


Offline Sherona

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2008, 01:47:54 PM »
Not for nothing, but $3 trillion divided amongst 300,000,000 Americans is $10,000 a piece.  I'm sure that even if I were homeless and destitute, someone giving me 10K is going to go a long way towards helping me get my life back on track.



I don't believe he was JUST speaking of the starvng americans. I do believe he was speaking of world hunger. Yeah. Might be easy to say "Ok. All people who need money (who doesn't?)" Go to these designated areas for free cash, in america where even thsoe wihtout transportation can walk freely and easily from state to state. (Talking about able bodied not the handicapped) but in some parts of the world this is not safe to do let alone possible.

Offline robitusinz

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Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2008, 02:07:05 PM »
Ah, I didn't bother to check out the link.  I figured that since we were talking about $3 trillion that the US gov't has misappropriated in some fashion or another, that the "poverty" solution was limited in scope to Americans.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2008, 12:13:22 PM »
Seriously I was thinking about a real use for this I would put it into a microcredit bank and offer real character loans and microloans to citzens based off the Grameen Bank model started by Muhammad Yunus structered for the United States. Give people an option to borrow $500 instead of those accursed PayDay Loan places at lets say 8% interest would be doing the poor a favor and small loans to start microbusinesses even a hot dog cart or popcorn cart would go a long way to bettering peoples lives.

That is I see a huge US problem credit is not offered at low levels based on a customers character and references, with terms that are fair.

An example the old show All in the Family when Edith (Archie's wife) wanted $200 for a tv for a present for her husband. The bank refused even though she worked part-time, was established as a customer and would have had every intention to pay the loan back. Hardly a risky loan. The Grameen Bank has a default rate of only 1.8% I think and these are very poor people. And they even offer unsecured $15 loans to beggers only asking they find something to seel toys or candy as they beg at houses to try and sell some goods. It works many are either full-time merchants or part-time beggers with another source of income. They pay the loans back when they can in what amounts they can. Then can qualify later for more credit. They also offer retirement accounts, school loans and even medical clinics and social programs.

So why not in the US? Three trillion dollars would go a long way instead of giving away $10,000 to everyone but some method of easy access low-interest credit for small amounts or larger based on a borrower's character and desire to succeed.

Offline robitusinz

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Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2008, 10:53:48 AM »
  As much as the compassionate side of my heart wishes that small loans for the impoverished existed, the logical side has to wonder about the wisdom in that.  The big problem I see is that the lower you go down the economic strata, the more volatile employment comes.  How do you loan someone $500 when they can lose their job next week with little warning and be left, literally, without food on the table?  And if you assume that you'll only lose 1 in 3 of those types of loans, a generous figure, how do you make up that money?

Until you find a way for someone to reliably make money off a game like that, it's just not going to happen.

Might as well take the 3 trillion and give em away, like I'd mentioned earlier.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2008, 12:08:19 PM »
The Grameen Bank does that and its been replicated in one form or another across the poor nations. They do make money as well.

You simply offer the loans based on character, references provided and the willingness to repay them and set-up small clusters of borrowers to support each other in business. You give them for self-employment which is overlooked as a source of income.

I'm on a local homeless committee to help the homeless I proposed letting them get credit for some sort of goods they can sell, low cost or free peddlers licenses for low level business and let them sell things on the streets from cans of soda to well anything. And then they can earn some money. As I see it lets say a soda seller gets off brand soda and sells a can for 75 cents that cost 25 cents a can. They sell 36 cans that is $18 a day or up to $540 a month, minus the cost of ice after that which should be marginal. Pool that with four people who also earn money they maybe could afford to share an apartment or trailer and are no longer homeless. Is it perfect no but its better than begging and leaving their goods laying around. All they would need is a large cooler with wheels, enough money for ice and sodas and a license. So what are we talking about here $100 in a loan with a card good at various merchants to supply them with goods. If they repay that over two years with a modest 6% interest rate it should be reasonable. And they get their own business even if its small giving them pride in a dollar earned over given. Other goods are also possible wrapeed sandwiches, candy, cookies and maybe other things like I said is that a bad way to earn a living they do that in many other countries to allow the poor a chance to make a living. And these are often illiterate people far worst off than in the US.

You can guess the idea flopped the homeless advocates didn't think that was proper work and the city didn't want street merchants all over downtown, but since the homeless were laying around the park anyway, is that really such a bad thing to try. So would it be that bad? It might be nice having a permanent flea market flavor downtown and heading to the beaches.

And I give loans through a charity to the poor I helped one woman buy three milk goats and cheese making goods giving her $60, she repaid me with interest and wanted $50 for five more goats to add to her business and I provided that. She had part of the money saved. And has a cheese business going well in her village in India. Even has her daughters in school and husband working delivering cheese and milk in town. I just gave a gentleman a sum of money for a small wooden riverboat to be a river taxi provider in Africa only $25 a quarter of the cost two others gave the rest, and he is going to sell food and drinks for a merchant for a commision extra. Small amounts can change lives far more than handing out money and food. He has only one leg but he can row a boat and wants to earn a living I repsect that.

$3 trillion dololars could fund a massive amount of such people in the US and get many people if not off the street with money in their pockets from labor and work. Just investing the principle well and using the interest earned it could go far.




Offline robitusinz

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Re: How could you spend three trillion?
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2008, 04:46:22 PM »
  That just sounds like charity with a long-term model.  Instead of just giving away money, they loan it, charge some interest, and can later help out others.  A noble idea, but unless you had a bunch of cash from someone ready to go, it ain't happening.   
  The idea you're selling is similar to "The Homeless Voice", which I see getting peddled around all over the place.  For those who don't know, it's basically a little newspaper written by or for homeless people (I'm not sure which).  Homeless folks give these away on the streets in exchange for "donations".  It's basically begging, except you get a nifty souvenir for it. 
  How would soda vendors on the street fare any better?  Not only do people rarely carry cash around anymore, but who stops in the middle of the street for a Coke?  And not for nothing, but you gotta consider the safety factor too.  There are some areas of Miami, where I live, where I wouldn't roll down my window, no matter who was on the other side.  Plus, people drive like shit on the streets...there's a safety concern on the part of the street vendors too.
  To go further into reality, you've got business licenses and tax considerations that you gotta factor in.  A guy that makes money selling sodas on the street has to pay Uncle Sam just like anyone else does.  There are also licensing issues precisely because you don't want a soda vendor at every street corner.  What happens if two different people want to sell sodas on the same corner?  Who gets to do so?



  It's a very noble idea, but it's way too fantastic and would never work in the real world.  Selling 36 cans of soda in a day just doesn't magically happen...the demand for soda just isn't that high.  I realize that you're using soda-selling as an arbitrary example, and I'm using it in the same fashion.  Simplistic systems like that simply don't work because the "entry cost" of American economy is too high.  Yeah, you can sell goats cheese in India, but try doing the same here.