$550 million Powerball or just another 81 minutes in the life of Congress?

November 28, 2012

$550 million Powerball or just another 81 minutes in the life of Congress?

By Gretchen Hamel

After most Americans get off work today they will head over to the nearest gas station to pick up a Powerball ticket. With a jackpot like $550 million at stake, multiple ticket purchases will certainly be within reason. After all if someone’s going to win, it might as well be me, right? And a dollar for the chance to imagine what one could buy with that kind of money is priceless.

But it’s actually quite hard to wrap your mind around just how much $550 million is. You could buy 2,150 2012 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speeds at $232,290 each and still have $50 million left over. Or you could buy a Hermes Birkin bag at $120,000 a pop for you and 4,582 of your closest friends.

No matter which way you look at it, $550 million is a lot of money… that is unless you are looking at it though the lens of the government. When it comes to spending money like it’s going out of style, the American public has nothing on Washington.

In fiscal year 2012, which ended on September 30, 2012, the government spent a whopping $3,538,286,000,000. Being that there are 525,600 minutes in a year, that means the government spent $6,731,898 a minute last year. Knowing this, how long would it take the government to spend the $550 million Powerball jackpot of your dreams? 81 minutes.

In other words in 81 minutes the government could buy 30 gulfstream jets at $17.5 million a piece.

With the current national debt at over $16,317,280,044,971, the federal government would have to win the Powerball jackpot 29,667 times to pay off the national debt.

The 2012 federal deficit racked up at $1.1 trillion, so Washington would have to win 2,000 times if it were to balance the budget last year.

While Americans dream about how many luxury cruises they could go on, how many olive garden feasts they could treat their family to, or how many Harry Winston diamonds they could collect with $550 million, the Powerball jackpot and daydreams it conjures is a sobering reminder of just how much money the government is spending.

That’s $550 million every hour and 21 minutes while we are driving to work, watching a movie, and even sleeping. It’s time for the government to wake up to reality. They didn’t just win the jackpot 29,667 times. They must cut spending.

BankruptingAmerica.org is an educational project of Public Notice, an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to providing facts and insight on the effects public policy has on Americans’ financial well-being.



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