Saturday, September 27, 2008

Crunching The Numbers

Want to really make some money? How much money would you like? How about 700 billion dollars? That's a figure that has been in the news a lot lately. We all know it's a big number, but how big is it?

You probably can't make 700 billion dollars waiting tables. That's way too slow. A good server, on a good night, in a good restaurant, feels pretty lucky to walk home with 100 bucks at the end of a night. At that rate, it would take you 7 billion nights to make that amount. Working 7 nights a week, for 19 million years, you still wouldn't quite get there.

We need something faster. Something WAY faster. The fastest possible way I can think of to make money is to just print your own! It's not legal, of course, but imagine with me if you could make money literally as fast as you could print it. I figure you could fit about five $100 bills on a standard page of 8.5” X 11” printer paper, and if you've got a new, state-of the art inkjet printer, which can spit out about 40 pages per minute, then that's $20,000.00 per minute! Now that's really making money, FAST.

Let's say you start making your money at 9:00 am on Monday morning, September 29, 2008. After only an hour, you would have 1.2 Million dollars! By 9:00 pm, after reloading your paper tray a few dozen times and using up a few ink cartridges, you would have about 14.4 Million bucks to show for your efforts. Not shabby at all for a single day's work! That's enough money to buy every senior citizen in America a new hearing aid battery, but you still aren't even close to your goal of 700 Billion.

At this rate, you won't make 700 billion before your grandchildren are retired. You need something faster, you decide. So the next morning, bright and early, you go to the Office Supply Megastore and buy 5 more fast printers, each capable of 40 pages-per-minute. Hey, you can afford it, you're a multimillionaire now! Go ahead and pick up a new leather office chair, a fancy ball-point pen, and some beef jerky while you're there!

You get your new printers home, plug them all up, and set them all loose at 9 o'clock sharp. Working through the day, not stopping for lunch (Aren't you glad I told you to get the beef jerky?), you jump from printer to printer to printer, replacing paper and ink, until, at 9 pm, exhausted, you shut off the power strip, and stumble toward your bedroom. You made 86.4 million dollars today, bringing your total to $100.8 Million in two days! Now you have enough money to buy every child in America a candy bar (and throw in a new toothbrush, too), but you are still not to 700 billion. So, I guess it's nose back to the ol' grindstone tomorrow.

After repeating the process on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with all 6 printers shooting out $20,000-a-minute each, for 12 hours a day, you would have 360 million dollars to show for your 60-hour workweek.

You can now afford to do the old “pull a coin out of your ear” trick on every man, woman, and child in the country with those nifty golden $1 coins, but you are still not to 700 billion. Guess you're gonna' have to work Saturdays, too! On Saturday, you decide that, if you are going to have to keep doing this, then skipping lunch is for the birds, so you only work 11 hours, instead of the twelve you've been doing. This brings in another 79.2 million, bringing your total up to 439.2 million.

Well, the next week, you really get into your groove. Taking a lunch break each day, and taking Sunday off (to let the paper cuts heal) you get in a 66-hour workweek, netting $475.2 Million. With your haul from last week, you are now up to 914.4 million dollars. You now have enough money to buy each senior citizen in the country a 2-year subscription to Reader's Digest and a lighted magnifying glass, but you still haven't made your first billion, much less your 700th. You make 7.2 million dollars an hour and it's still taking too long!

Fast forward to Christmas morning. Sleigh Bells are ringing, Jack Frost is nipping, Chestnuts are roasting, and you are still printing $100 bills, at a rate of 1200 per minute, for 77 hours each week. Your total so far? 5.904 billion dollars. You are not even one one-hundredth of the way to your goal. You have enough money to buy every kid in America a gift-wrapped bicycle, but not nearly enough to bail out the American investment banking industry. The good news is, new technology has made home inkjet printers even faster, and they can now print one page per second, a 50% improvement! You buy yourself 10 of these new beauties, recycle the old ones, and start off the New Year printing faster than ever!

So, in 2009, with your new high-tech printers, you are now making the unbelievable amount of 5,000 dollars per second! You keep that rate up for an entire year, still working Saturdays, and loading ink and paper faster than ever, and by the following Christmas, you have made.... 61.776 billion dollars for the year, for a grand total of $67.68 Billion. Almost one tenth of the way. You now have enough money to buy every adult in the country a brand new iPod Touch, but still not nearly 700 Billion.

As a matter of fact, at this rate, you will need to keep this rate of printing up for another 10 years and 12 weeks, printing your last few million somewhere around March 20, 2020. The President of the United states by then might be a 56 year old Sarah Palin, or a 73 year old Joseph Biden by then, in the third year of his/her first or second term. Barack Obama would be 58, and John McCain would be 84. We might be in the 8th year of our War against Russia and Iran, or we might be driving American-made electric cars powered entirely by wind and solar energy, or both!

Most of us make money at a rate significantly less than 18 Million dollars per hour, so it would take even more time than that. Most of us are closer to the waitress end of the spectrum, looking at 19 million years to make that kind of dough. Hopefully, before the Sun explodes in a supernova, destroying our planet.

I may have been a little off, here or there, on my math. I have done far more research than anyone should, but I may have messed up somewhere in there. These numbers are so big that rounding errors cost millions of dollars. If you took the 700 Billion dollars proposed for the Bank Bailout, and gave every man, woman and child in America their “cut”, they would each receive a check for $2,293.67, but that's rounded down to the nearest penny. Add up all the fractional pennies saved by not giving everyone those last 85 thousandths of a dollar, and they add up to 2.621 million dollars!

I hope this helped you wrap your brain around a number that big. I know it's helped me. I'm Frank Gibson, and I approve this message.


Anonymous said...

Hey, just out of curiosity, are you guys having the same gas issues as Atlanta and Nashville?

Kathy said...

Well, I say we'd better get crackin'!Think we can get Hank to distribute all that loot in tips to waiters?