Op-Ed No. 1

by John Dwaine McKenna

With apologies to Woody Guthrie for expropriating his song title . . . Are you a thinking person? Do you give a damn about your family? How about your kids? Grandkids? Even your great-grandkids and all those who’ll be born after? Everyone in America should read this piece and make others aware of it too. When finished, you’re going to say “I don’t believe it.” But then, you’ll get a calculator and prove it to your own satisfaction . . . after which, you’re going to be angry. Read on. Learn why I’m sticking my neck out with these statements. I didn’t believe it either. It has to do with numbers.

Suppose that we had to borrow money—and agreed to pay it back at the rate of one dollar every second. At that amount, an average home mortgage of, say $150,000, would be fully repaid in just 39 hours—or a little more than one and a-half days. Thirty-year mortgage? Fuhgetaboutit!

At the dollar a second rate, a one million dollar loan would be paid back in eleven days and four hours. Think of the interest we’d save! And hold that thought . . . because here’s where we have to step up our game.

For years, our elected representatives who spend our tax money have tossed around phrases using numbers in the billions of dollars range. Thirty years ago, Illinois Senator Everitt Dirksen was quoted as saying “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money,” in a humorous aside. Now, the ‘B’ in billions has been replaced with an innocent sounding ‘T’, as in trillions . . . an innocuous but incomprehensible number we’d like to put into more understandable terms.

At one dollar per second, it takes 32 years to repay a one billion dollar loan, but it takes 32 thousand years to repay a one trillion dollar loan.

It takes 32 thousand years to repay one trillion dollars at the rate of a buck a second.

That’s not a mistake. I didn’t believe it either. Check it out. Prove it to your own satisfaction. Then realize that those same politicians whom we elected to do our nation’s business have spent 20 trillion dollars that they don’t have, and multiply the above 32 thousand by 20. It’s 640 thousand years! There is a day of reckoning coming. It’s known as the tipping-point. That’s the spot where we reach insolvency . . . the place where our ability to repay is less than the amount owed. It’s called bankruptcy. It’s real. We’re headed for it at some point in the not-too-distant future when our kids kids and their kids will get stuck with our bills.

Oh, and one last thought. We didn’t bother to mention the interest on the Dough-Re-Mi that’s been borrowed. It adds up—even at the unprecedented current rate of .0025 percent—at more than one dollar per second . . .

Many thanks to Ms. J Battle. She taught AP math in high school and college for the past 35 years, who checked the calculations. This article is available on my website: www.johndwainemckenna.com so it can be passed on to others. I encourage you to do so, and welcome your comments. Mail received at P.O. Box 2406, Colorado Springs, CO 80901