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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The $24 Billion -- Where to Send the Bill?

It’s estimated that the government shutdown from October 1 to 16 cost the economy $24 billion.  One commentator noted that that would have been enough to hire 400,000 teachers.  After a little long division, I figured that their average salaries would have been $55,400 or $26.52 per hour.  That’s a lot of teachers and the average is only a little below the national median, unless it’s dropped some more lately, so it would have been a useful thing to do.  I should note that we’re talking here about one year.  To keep those teachers working a second year would cost another $24 billion minus the income tax paid by the teachers out of their $55,400 salaries.  Maybe it would have been better to invest some of the phantom $24 billion in infrastructure and research which might have had a medium rather than a long term payout.  We will never know, because the $24 billion is lost forever.  Or is it?  Couldn’t we send the bill to Senator Cruz and John Boehner?  Perhaps they could send it on to the Koch brothers.  I’m sure the brothers are realists who believe in the axiom that you get what you pay for, so shouldn’t they be willing to kick in at least a few billion?

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