I'm becoming a fan of Politico, which has intelligent writing on politics without any overwhelming left or right tilt. Today the site notes that all of the big numbers start to blur together:
Human beings have a hard time differentiating between millions and billions and trillions, let alone the numerical subsets thereof. To most of us, it just registers as “a whole lot.” ...As a public service, All That Is Necessary is pleased to present this statistical glossary, for use in explaining federal spending to your grandchildren: billion, trillion, quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion (which will lend itself to financial abstinence messages), septillion, octillion, nonillion, decillion.
It is hard, then, to get people excited about the difference between $787 billion and $478 billion, both of which are equally abstract if not equally large sums — which is perhaps one reason why House Republicans’ alternate stimulus proposal, which carried the latter price tag, failed to gain much traction with the public.
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