The word "billion" has appeared in newspapers a lot recently. The Denver Post carried a story that scientists now determine that there are "billions" of earth size planets out there in space. We can see now why the ballot proposal in Denver got so many votes to set up a welcome committee for greeting space aliens when they land in Denver or Colorado. A friend in Adams County said space aliens were much more likely to land in Adams County than Denver. When I asked why, "We have so much more open space." She smiled at me as she answered.
Our own federal government has shared with us for the first time the amount of tax dollars spent on intelligence activities: $80.1 billion. The National Intelligence Program has been awarded $53.1 billion in fiscal 2010 so far. And thus far our government has dished out $42.6 billion to the State Department and foreign operations. Uncle Sam's wallet has spilled out $3.5 billion for Iraqi intelligence operations. Some ask why we spend so much and know so little?
In another article a few days later the paper shared with readers that $5.7 billion has been paid out if its total 2010 appropriation to US Immigration and Customs to send back 392,862 undocumented immigrants from the United States. They must be using first class fares. Estimates are that it would cost $80 billion or more to send back all the undocumented aliens in the country to their country of origin. We know nothing will happen on this front as the pressure for fiscal restraint sinks into the next congress. That figure assumes we know how many undocumented aliens are here in the country. We simply don't know.
Floyd Ciruli, Colorado pollster, told me recently that over $4 billion was spent nationally in the last weeks of the campaign. He thinks lobbyists, advertisers and consultants dumped over $50 billion into Colorado races. Much of this money is unaccounted for and we will never know who actually paid for what.
We will probably continue to see the word "billion" a lot more in the news