What House?

Many may be surprised to learn that come November 4, we’ll have to decide more than just who we put in the White House. That’s right, there’s another house in Washington that needs its seats filled—that’s House of Representatives, where every seat is up for grabs this fall.

Somehow this fact seems to be as buried in the news as the war in Iraq is these days. I suppose House Representatives are small time compared to the president, but these are also the folks who are going to decide whether the bailout bill makes it through Congress on Friday. These are the people who will decide the fate of $700 billion of our money.

I know that once a dollar amount exceeds a million, it’s virtually impossible for most of us to comprehend it as real. It’s sort of like trying to wrap your head around the idea that there is something beyond the atmosphere or beyond the toilet once you flush. But there are, and we need to start getting a grasp of these things: sewage systems, outer space, and of course, $700 billion. In an attempt to break this number down into dollar amounts I can understand, I tied doing a little bit of math. If we divided that money among every single person in the U.S., we would each receive $2,334. To put this into terms even more accessible: the amount of money the bailout bill requires is enough to send every single person in the United States on an all-expense paid trip at a luxury resort in the Caribbean for two weeks. Of course, we’d be coming home to a disaster even worse than the one we’re in, but at least we’d all be well rested and feel invigorated by a little boost of morale, on the House.

–Jamie Wong