Today I Learned…

…that the so-called “bailout” will be the most significan outlay in the history of the United States.  Adjusted for inflation, it will cost more than the Marshall Plan, Louisiana Purchase, the race to the moon, the savings and loan crisis of the ’80s and ’90s, the Korean War, the New Deal, the Iraq War, the Vietnam War, and the entire lifetime budget of NASA (EDIT: and possibly the entire cost of World War II).

Combined.

EDIT: Check out this “new” (several-weeks old now) estimate from Bloomberg and the New York Daily News putting the total outlay at almost seven-and-a-half trillion dollars.

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Today I Learned…

…about Amazon Mechanical Turk. AMT is an online marketplace seeking to match workers and requesters for mini-tasks called HITs (human intelligence tasks) — typically short online activities like commenting on blog posts or reviewing content. Once a worker has fulfilled the task to the requester’s specification, they are paid a small amount of money, ranging from a few cents to several dollars depending on the length and difficulty of the task.

This is really where the market has evolved itself into. More and more people are taking themselves out of the normal workforce and attempting to make a living freelancing. What’s more, there are more and more of these opportunities springing up as the economy goes to the shitter — I found this site linked to on a blog post on a similar site describing how to create an income following a job loss. I myself am registered with two free survey sites to make a little extra money (very little, but hey). It’s remarkable how the (American) economy has rejiggered itself into one where less and less actual physical product is produced anywhere.  An economy of ideas indeed.

Today I Learned…

…or perhaps more aptly, I began to learn how to become a (semi-) professional blogger.  More updates as events warrent — as it stands, I purchased ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income and began to read it.  I have not gotten very far, but I’m encouraged so far.  I’ve started coming up with new blog ideas; niches to branch out into, that kind of thing.  Who knows whether this will ever come to fruition, but at least I have a goal.

Today I Learned…

…that the legislation proposed to oversee the $700B-plus bailout for Wall Street includes the following language:

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

“May not be reviewed by any court of law?!?!?!?”  This would make Secretary Paulson a de facto financial dictator.  I have no confidence in Congress to do anything about this, and the Supremes certainly won’t (even though this is a direct usurpation of their Constitutional authority — hell, their reason for existing!).  WTF?