If I wrote a cheque to say Mark for rescuing my egregious error in confusing Chinatown with The China Syndrome, it would read something like this:
Pay Mark Kleiman the sum of seventy-two dollars 50c………$72.50.
In Europe you can get away with putting the cents in numerals, I don’t know if this holds for the States.
The cheque the American taxpayer is now being invited to sign to Hank Paulson for “an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know what it is” reads in full:
Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.
The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time.
A bit later on American taxpayers are asked to raise the limit on the national debt. That is, they promise, on behalf of their children, grand-children and descendants to the nth generation, to meet all payments of principal and interest on this debt to the end of time or of the Republic, whichever shall first ensue, even if such payment shall reduce them to beggary and prostitution. The new IOU reads in full:
Sec.10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.
Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.
I know the US Government printer is pretty reliable, but when a single misplaced zero can change the debt limit by more than the world’s GDP, two lines of type would seem a worthwhile expenditure.