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Let’s Play Jeopardy – Passing the Time

let's play jeopardy

Time to kill. What to do? I know. Let’s play Jeopardy. I better think up some good questions for the answer.

Jeopardy! is one of these great game shows that Merv Griffin invented back in 1964. You have probably watched or even played this game. What makes it unique is that you start out with the answer, and contestants have to guess the questions.

So, in the version of Jeopardy! we will play to day, here is the answer:

40 thousand to 70 thousand

Now, what are possible questions that provide this answer? Here is a list of accurate candidates. Let’s play Jeopardy!

  • Number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States (so far 69 thousand)
  • Annual US deaths from flu and pneumonia (non-COVID related – around 60 thousand)
  • Annual Drug Overdose deaths in United States (around 70 thousand)
  • Number of gun deaths each year (near 40,000) in USA
  • Annual US deaths from road traffic accidents (around 40,000)
  • Annual number of suicides in United States (40,000)
  • Deaths from unintentional falls each year in USA (40,000)
  • Amount of additional debt taken on this year by each and every American taxpayer, in dollars, to pay for emergency pandemic spending by government.

Let’s Play Jeopardy – Passing the Buck(s)

That last one is a real kicker. Somewhere in the range of $40,000 to $70,000 dollars of additional debt taken on by each taxpayer this winter. I don’t mean to pick on our American friends, but the statistics were easy to find. The numbers would probably scale nicely to Canada, except for the gun deaths.

You will find it’s easier to count government expenditures than numbers of taxpayers. For example, in Canada more than one third of people who file tax returns don’t actually pay any tax. So do we count them? You will also find in the USA that many folks who do not pay any federal tax directly pay lots of it through payroll tax, etc.

So, that’s why the answer is such a large range, so far.

One thing for sure though, in case you haven’t guessed. All of this COVID-19 spending is going to achieve a huge wealth transfer. Why, you say? Well, because of so-called progressive or graduated tax rates, most income tax in Canada and United States is paid by the top 20% earners. Fact is, 80% of us will not actually have to pay down much of this debt at all.

I think I need a break from pandemic posts. Back to normal stuff next time.

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