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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The $35 bottle of wine 

Back in the late 70s, there was a cabinet minister in British Columbia who had to resign because he went out to a fancy restaurant and put several bottles of $35 wine on his public expense account.
Sure it was a trivial amount, especially compared to what governments spend every day. But the government budget figures are so large they are incomprehensible. A $35 bottle of wine, now THAT we can understand.
The same thing is happening now.
We've had months and months of news about an incomprehensible economic crisis with incomprehensible numbers being bandied about, so large that they are impossible for average people to understand -- 40 billion here, 300 billion and 900 billion in the United States -- we just can't wrap our heads around numbers that large.
But $165 million? Well, yes, its a large number, but its only two or three times larger than some of the recent lottery jackpots. So THAT is now a number that people can understand.
And since Jon Stewart told everybody they had a right to be angry, AIG is reaping the whirlwind.
Couldn't have happened to a more deserving bunch, either.

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