Monday, April 24, 2006

Doing the Math

Reported by the BBC:
Japan and the United States have resolved a dispute over the costs of relocating 8,000 US marines from Okinawa to the Pacific island of Guam.
Tokyo had objected to US calls for it to pay 75% of the estimated $10bn cost.

But after talks in Washington on Sunday, a deal was reached under which Tokyo will contribute $6.1bn to the cost of relocation to the US territory.
Leaving aside what seems to me to be a fairly obvious question (why do we need eight thousand Marines on either Okinawa or Guam?), I can certainly see why the Japanese would object to being asked to pay seven and a half billion dollars. Maybe we should take a lesson from those clever Japanese, and do a little objecting, ourselves, to paying that sort of cash to move eight thousand folks.

Without doubt, the government pays for moving in much the same way it pays for everything else: lavishly. But, if you get your calculator out, and divide ten to the tenth power dollars by 8 times ten to the third power Marines, you'll find that we're talking about $1,250,000 for each and every Marine. (That's a million and a quarter, of which we apparently wanted the Japanese to pay $937,500; and they seemingly have settled on $762,500. That final sum is quite amazing all by itself ... they must be getting really tired of having their young girls raped by America's Finest.)

A million and a quarter bucks. Daaay-ummm! I'm obviously in the wrong line of work. I should launch a new business: Gummint Movers, Inc. I bet I could move Marines for, oh, maybe $50,000 each, and not leave a single one of them complaining. For that sort of money, their belongings would be packed and unpacked by professionals; and they'd fly in some sort of ├╝ber-first-class status, with plenty of gourmet food and their choice of the finest wines, straight bourbon whiskey, single-malt Scotch, or German beers. And I'd still make a positively indecent profit.

Of course, I'm sure that a redeployment of these soldiers to the Mexican non-border is totally out of the question. After all, we simply must see to the security of the far side of the Pacific Ocean, against ... well ... whoever's currently threatening to invade Guam or Okinawa. Iran, that must be, I guess.

1 comment:

Grace said...

I sure hope the BBC's dollar figures are in American billions (bad enough) and not British billions (catastrophic).

I like your idea for redeploying the Marines a little closer to home. And maybe we could put a few thousand of these Marines (and some prorated earmarked billions) in the Katrina-smashed area.