••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

borderline arithmetic

during today's immigration discussion on washington journal, a caller said we should put an agent every 50 yards along the mexican border.

naturally i thought that sounded crazy, so i decided to estimate how many it would take and what it would cost.

one every 50 yards is about 35 per mile or 35k per 1000 miles per 8-hour shift. so that's about 100k a day, which would cover a 5-day week. add 40% for weekends plus a little more for holidays and vacations, and we're talking about roughly 150k agents per 1000 miles.

i don't know what they get paid, so i'll assume pay plus benefits and other expenses comes to $50k/year. that's $7.5B per 1000 miles per year.

so now i just need to multiply by the actual border length divided by 1000 mi and the actual yearly cost per agent divided by $50k.

that might double or quadruple it, and more if we include the canadian border. but if it's only mexico, it might cost up to $30B a year. still, it's a hell of a lot less than our defense budget, or even just the war in iraq.

maybe it's not so crazy, after all.

then again, everything the government does always winds up costing way more than anybody figured.

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