A couple of years back I worked out that switching America’s entire motor fleet to plug-in hybrid could reduce foreign oil consumption in half (10 > 5 million bbl/day), possibly cutting oil’s price in half ($60 > $30/bbl), saving exactly enough ($165 billion/yr) to subsidize manufacturing as plug-in hybrids the 16.5 million vehicles we manufacture every year at $10,000 each.
Under the same scheme, today, halving our current foreign consumption (12 > 6 million bbl/day), and halving the price ($150 > $75/bbl) would save three times a much: or about half a trillion a year. (Our motor vehicles burn about 8 millions barrels a day. Silicon nano-wire technology promises to quadruple lithium-ion charge holding ability in the short term – ten times in the long run: at which long run point even long distance truck plug-ins ought to become practical.)
A couple of years back I also worked out that raising the federal minimum wage from $5.15/hr to $12.50/hr would shift $450 billion dollars yearly to our lowest 40 percent of wage earners while adding only 3.75% to the cost of GDP output -- about how much our GDP grew since. * Now we are sending the same amount extra every year to Saudi Arabia and friends for nothing extra in return.
Scott Furman, Obama’s Director of Economic Policy laments that Wal-Mart skins employees $5 billion a year but compares that to the $263 billion he says Walmart saves the American consumer – without seeming to catch the irony that any $7/hr WalMart worker (or every $7/hr worker) would make, that: “Hey; that means if they don’t skin the $5 billion out of us, $257 billion in savings would still be left for everyone else.”
We do not come up with $5 billion a year to make life livable for those who work for the biggest employer in the land. We did not come up with the amount the economy grew over the last couple of years to make the minimum wage $500/wk (no huge wage for American born workers – if heaven for the Mexicans and Vietnamese who worked 2006’s, $206/wk jobs) and effectively end most poverty (and most crime?) in America (at only 25% above LBJ’s minimum – after average income doubled).
But when it comes to dropping $500 billion more a year than we did a couple of years back on the oil magnates of the earth, it hardly slows us down to think: "What’s a few trillion dollars in the sands of time?"
* $12.50/hr = $7.50/hr more than the 2006 federal minimum wage = $7,500/yr average (half) increase. 54 million workers below $12.50/hr + 6 million at federal minimum wage (who get full increase) = 60 million average increases: $450 billion transfer divided by $12 trillion GDP = 3.75% added cost of GDP output.