Claim:   Letter suggests fixing the U.S. economy by giving workers over age 50 $1 million each.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, April 2009]

I received this e-mail. Don’t people do the math?

This was an article from the St. Petersburg Times Newspaper on Sunday. The Business Section asked readers for ideas on “How Would You Fix the Economy?” I thought this was the BEST idea….I think this guy nailed it!

Patriotic retirement:

For a total cost of 40 Billion you could solve our financial problems. There’s about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance with the following stipulations.

1) They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings
– Unemployment fixed.

2) They buy NEW American cars. Forty million cars ordered
– Auto Industry fixed.

3) They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage
– Housing Crisis fixed.


Origins:   The above-reproduced suggestion about how to jumpstart the faltering U.S. economy began hitting our inbox in April 2009. It appeared on the web site of the St. Petersburg Times on 8 February 2009 as an entry submitted by David Otterson of Largo, Florida, for an “ideas to fix the economy” challenge, and it was published in the 31 March 2009 edition of the Deseret News as a
letter to the editor submitted by Bountiful, Utah, resident Curt Wilbur:

There are about 40 million people over age 50 in the work force. Pay them $1 million apiece severance with these stipulations:

They leave their jobs, which means 40 million job openings. Unemployment fixed.

They buy new American cars; 40 million cars ordered. Auto industry fixed.

They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage. Housing crisis fixed.

Some people make things so complicated when they don’t have to be.

This is a lot less than the billions given to banks and insurance companies.

As many others have noted, the particulars of this scheme call for payouts of $1 million each to some 40 million working Americans over the age of fifty, for a total outlay of $40 trillion. That’s 40 trillion — not 40 billion — dollars, an amount which is close to four times larger than the entire current U.S.
national debt

It is possible, however, that whoever originally came up with this idea was not arithmetically-challenged but rather was trying to make a point about how people often don’t pay attention to the large financial numbers that are commonly bandied about in the news these days.

Last updated:   10 April 2009


    Deseret News.   “Offer $1M Severance Pay.”

    31 March 2009.

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