Columns

2011: The Year in Review, Part II

July A recurring theme for the second half of the year is the federal debt, which at its present pace will exceed the $999 trillion mark by the year 2211. The good news is that mathematicians have plenty of time before then to come up with a number higher than a trillion. In the ’60s (the 1960s, not the 1860s), the late Senator Everett Dirksen, when speaking about the federal budget, was fond of saying “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” At the time, everyone thought this was quite funny and laughed, because the senator was in the late stages of dementia. Little did they know that one day the government would have to throw away trillions of dollars before it amounted to real money. I often wonder if anyone would notice an item in the federal budget for $1 billion for …

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