Just how much is 15 billion dollars?

I have gotten a little jaded about money. I am running a project for a 501-3c that is pending a 1.3 million dollar grant and has blown through 300k to rebuild one old boat. (Can buy aa dozen boats for what we are spending on this one).

Then I see 600 billion dollar bailout, 50
billion dollar write downs, micro cap companies with billion dollar market caps.

Then on a personal level, I have a hard time pulling the trigger on a 250 dollar initiation fee and 88 dollars a month to join a sailing club.

So, sometimes I have to work the numbers down to see what 15 billion really is.

The population of South Korea is 50,000,000 people. Or another way to
see it, the population of South Korea is 0.05 billion people. So as the 15 billion is over several years, it works out to 2 billion a year, or 40 dollars a person per year. That doesn’t seem like much.

But wait! There’s more! Have you looked at the population pyramid for South Korea?

The majority of the workers are over 40. These will not be available for a new industry. So the 2 billion a year will end up
going to early career people.

What is more, the entire
Korean battery industry has about 20,000 people. Or roughly 0.00002 billion people.
When you look at it that way, this 2 billion a year works out to 100,000 dollars a person per year. That will definitely pay for a sailing club membership!

But wait there’s more!

This 2 billion a year in domestic (Korean production) is in top of the 5.3 billion that is earmarked for production in the USA. That 5.3 billion works out to 1 billion a year from Korea to the USA, not funds from the IRA.

Currently, all total, there are 30,000 people in the USA engaged in battery manufacturing. My guess is the vast majority of them are either working in legacy lead acid manufacturing or working for Tesla/Panasonic.

Still, if we increased that by 30
percent, we could pay each of them 100,000 dollars a year with Korean funds.

Considering we have no idea where we are going to dig up 10,000 young people this is a bigger challenge than might be expected. What is more, if you add 10,000 high paying jobs to a community, you generally cycle that money 4 times. So you actually need 40,000 new workers.

Just sayin’ 15 billion is a lot.

I don’t even want to think about the numbers in the IRA, which makes me think of Orwellian Double speak.

All this gives me the gut feeling that there will be an excess demand for labor and capital for the rest of the decade. Meaning interest rates will stay elevated and wages will continue to rise.



Interesting post. Took the liberty to move it from Saul’s to METaR, under the assumption that your intention was to post there, and hope that’s ok with you. Please let me know if my assumption is incorrect.

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I think it is off topic for Saul’s board.

It is more of METAR topic. Saul will probably kick it off.


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Oh did not realize I posted it on Saul’s board!


Depends on how deep your pockets are, for Elon Musk it’s chump change. Drop 5 zeros and it’s higher than the average American annual take home pay.

The Captain

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USian Federal “grants” are something I would like to really put a number to. The metro Detroit local news is always going on about the city’s latest blight clearance program, funded by a Federal “grant”. New policemen hired with Federal “grant” money. Federal money for schools, and roads. When did all this start? I remember the early 70s “revenue sharing” Federal money fountain. At that time, Kalamazoo County was scrambling around trying to spend it all, ended up repaving a lot of streets that didn’t really need it.



How much oil and NG does SK have? Politically the country mighty feel into it…that can be rephrased more accurately as it might make more economic sense to have such a policy.

You can not count a boat club where the dues might just be the beginning of the expenses to an industrial investment. Apples never turn into oranges.

Which labor? That is the critical question. Sure, there will be demand for anything battery related, and EV related, and electric motor related, etc. But perhaps as time passes, there will be less demand for labor related to internal combustion engine design, fabrication, etc. Perhaps there will less demand for mechanics that work on those things after they have entered the market?

And if true autonomous driving arrives (and that won’t be this decade, and maybe not next decade, but probably will happen at some pont) then a HUGE number of jobs will begin to disappear. After all, the most popular job of all in the USA is … truck driver!

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That is correct. But most of the time inflation will be well tamed.

Mark just about all labor will see some upward mobility.

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There may be a lot of drivers, but, having pretty much eliminated the Teamster’s Union, driving is much less attractive that it used to be. Truck line “JCs” are constantly crying they can’t find enough drivers.


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First, let’s start with the idea that this is a rather small investment hoping to jump start South Korea in a new and obviously advancing sector. They can choose to do nothing and hope they get some industry out of it, or they can roll the dice and see if they can produce some fledgling technology which translates to new business, new jobs, new taxes. That’s hardly new:the US did it with subsidies for microchips, for all-things-space, for human genome sequencing, and lots more.

And the above quote is just not true. A lot of the jobs will be rote factory jobs, servicing robots, cleaning up the factory floor, producing blueprints (or better, producing paper for blueprints) and so on. Not everyone who worked for NASA was a rocket scientist! And I wouldn’t be surprised to find there are a lot of 40 and 50 year olds who know a little about battery chemistry or other aspects and who would comfortably slide into slots in a new industry.

15 billion is peanuts. It’s barely one aircraft carrier :wink: