• "A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon it adds up to real money."

    The late Senator Everett Dirksen commenting on Washington's propensity to speak of large sums as if they're not large at all. And he was talking about it back in the 1960s!

    A billion was a big deal then. Should be a big deal now. But it's not. Why not?

    Inflation? I'm not buying it.

    I received a great e-mail on this very subject, for which I take no credit, but with which I heartily agree.

    A billion means a lot.

    A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

    A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

    A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the stone age.

    A billion days ago no one walked on the earth, at least on two feet.

    Yet a billion dollars ago was only eight hours and 20-minutes, at the rate our government is spending.

    Consider that the next time your congressman or senator says he delivered a bridge for you, or built a highway for you, or inaugurated another government program for you.

    It's a Republican problem. It's a Democratic problem. And yes, it's our problem.

    Think of that the next time a public servant tells you he or she dutifully brought home the bacon. Then consider the cost of that bacon.

    Then consider this: Which is frying, the bacon or you?

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