Some BIG Numbers

Mentions of state budgets recently talk about deficits in the billions of dollars. Heard the other day on the radio that California alone is looking at a $38 billion shortfall. Airlines are losing billions of dollars a quarter. The US national debt is nearing $7 trillion.

An article in the local paper mentions Bernie Ebbers’ $400 million loan from his former employer, Worldcom. Yes, that Worldcom. Is it no wonder that they’re in the toilet? They loan someone $400 million for stuff like a yacht building company and a 500,000 acre ranch (that’s five hundred thousand, folks) and no one notices?

Geez. I’d probably be turned down if I asked my boss for $10 for lunch and offered to pay him $15 tomorrow. How in the world can anyone think that loaning someone $400 million for this sort of thing is a good idea? I always thought that a secured loan meant you actually had stuff that could be sold to recoup the loan. Maybe that’s why I’m not a CEO yet.

To be fair, it’s not just Worldcom. The British advertising company WPP Group recently decided that they needed to pay their head honcho nearly $160 million (including possible incentives) over the next three years. Who in the world needs $160 million to work for three years? Damn. Pay me that kind of money and I’ll work for you for at least five.

When did we start counting with such huge numbers?