It's a well-known fact that human beings are terrible at comprehending scale. And when I say "well-known", I mean well-known to myself, because somehow, even today, the majority of people don't have a firm intuitive grasp on the difference between a million, or a billion, or a trillion.
To pick an extremely relevant example, I'll copy today's XKCD, and talk about the AIG bonus scandal. 165 million dollars is a lot of money, sure, but let's put it in perspective. Out of every thousand dollars that has gone to AIG, the executives there have received about 97 cents. Given the circumstances, you can easily argue that that's 97 cents more than they deserve, but come on now. Aren't you (and by you, I mean the news networks) even a little curious about where the other 99.903% of the money has gone?
The more I think about the bonus scandal, the more it seems like a distraction. On the scale that the government is throwing money around these days, $165 million is nothing - yet, for a few days, everybody is completely focused on it, including Congress, apparently. Right now, I think there are much bigger fish to fry than the AIG execs, however much they may deserve a good frying.
Mini-post today because I have been driving for seven hours or so and I am basically dead. >_>