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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Math problem

Instead of spending billions and billions of dollars trying to make the "invisible hand" do its thing, could we solve the economic crisis via a more direct approach? A friend to this blog sent the following...
The Business Section of the St. Petersburg ( Florida ) Times asked readers for ideas on "How Would You Fix The Economy?" A senior citizen around 80 yrs. of age nailed it! Here is what he wrote:
Dear Mr. President, Please find below my suggestion for fixing America 's economy. Instead of giving billions of dollars to companies that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan. You can call it the "Patriotic Retirement Plan": There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

1) They MUST retire. Forty million job openings - Unemployment fixed!

2) They MUST buy a new AMERICAN Car. Forty million cars ordered - Auto Industry fixed!

3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed! It can't get any easier than that!! P.S. If more money is needed, have all members in Congress pay their taxes.. Mr. President, while you're at it, make Congress retire on Social Security and Medicare. I'll bet both programs would be fixed pronto!
This suggestion is floating around as a piece of instant email folklore. Most people reading it presume that the total cost of the program would be $40 million. (Admit it. That was your initial impression, right?)

In fact, distributing one million bucks apiece to $40 million people would cost $40,000,000,000,000 -- forty trillion dollars.

Nevertheless, I say do it. Just print up the money and hand it out. Inflation's low right now, so what the hell. If those who received the million bucks were asked to forgo their Social Security payments, then that program would be in the clear for a long, long, long time to come.

So I still like this idea, even though I know the real sum involved. I doubt, however, that many will agree with me.

PS. One further point: If the retirees live to the age of 80, they'll have $33,333 a year to live on. So I'm not so sure about that car and that house. I'm too tired right now to work out the interest rate if the money is put into a CD...

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