One of the reasons why so many Americans are confused about the large numbers being tossed around by our leaders in Washington these days is because of how poorly they were taught mathematics in the public schools. They find figures in the millions, billions, and trillions almost impossible to visualize as anything more than just strings of numbers. Most Americans can barely deal with thousands, let alone trillions.
"So be it." Those three words, uttered by House Speaker John Boehner last week about the prospect of federal work force layoffs, generated a firestorm of anger and anxiety among congressional Democrats, liberals, federal workers (and federal nonworkers in no small number of cases, considering the absence of output), and various other advocates of ever-expanding government.
The propaganda machine was out in full strength last week when General Motors generated a lot of excitement by announcing that each of its 40,000 hourly workers will be getting bonuses averaging $4,000. Water-cooler conversations and media coverage alike were abuzz over this news, everyone beaming with patriotic pride that the all-American company was able to come back from the brink of disaster and reward its workers for all their efforts.
Few people can tell you how Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin was able to impose a brutal communist dictatorship over the Russian people. His strategy was simple and effective: Let the liberal socialists under the leadership of Alexander Kerensky overthrow the Tsarist government, and then the communists will have an easy job of overthrowing the new, weak democratic government by using murderous Bolshevik thugs to enforce a new communist tyranny. It will be like taking candy from a baby.