A $105 Million Here, a $105 Billion There, …

“… And pretty soon it adds up to real money!”

The original quotation, uttered in wry commentary at his fellow Senators’ earmarking habits, was “A billion here, a billion there!  And pretty soon it adds up to real money!” –  Attributed to many US Senators, including Estes Kafauver.  In the 1950s when the total federal budget was under a hundred billion, a billion was a lot of money.

*”New $105M Va. prison remains empty” is the Jan 2011 headline about a Virginia state prison.

But four months after the Grayson County prison was completed at a cost of $105 million, it sits empty — the consequence of a declining number of inmates statewide, and a reduction in state dollars to lock them up.

Having a new prison without prisoners is a striking turnabout for Virginia. The state’s inmate population of about 38,000 has nearly doubled since 1994, when the General Assembly voted to abolish parole and to embark on a prison-building boom.

In the past two fiscal years, however, the number of inmates has declined for the first time in recent history, dropping by 2.8 percent.

* “What if they built a school and nobody got to go?”

May 31, 2011. When it’s completed this fall, Riverside’s $105-million Hillcrest High will be a high-tech academic hub. But thanks to state budget cuts, it will be missing its justification for existence: students.


*The U.S. military is on track to spend $113 billion on its operations in Afghanistan this fiscal year, and it is seeking $107 billion for the next. May 30, 2011.

[If we trim that to $105 billion, the Aghan war financial cost will be equivalent to budgeting one thousand prisons or high schools built per year …]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: