Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dollars and NanoCents

While researching another piece, your LakeCountyEye was examining the Lake County budget. And stumbled on this graphic at the County Website that shows how the County tax dollar is divided up.

It has all the slices one expects to find in something like this: School, City, Fire, Township, Forest Preserve, Parks, etc. (Aren't Forest Preserves and Parks the same thing?) Schools get more than 2/3 of the pie, no surprise. Lake County government gets only 7% which is surprising. Presumably this covers roads, medical services, sheriff, etc.

Since your LakeCountyEye happened to be examining County Board pay raises, the natural question arose, what portion of the dollar bill covers these? The Daily Herald recently estimated Board Chair Suzi Schmidt's pay raise at roughly $1600. Lake County Government estimates its 2009 Budget tops $500,000,000 -- a half billion dollars.

According to your LakeCountyEye's solar powered abacus, the raise represents 0.000032% of the annual County budget. That's a lot of zeroes. A quick Fourier Transform on the numbers reveal the raise is a 1/312500 slice out of the budget.

Naturally your LakeCountyEye wanted to see what 1/312500th of a dollar bill looked like. The LakeCountyEye graphics department was willing to assist but cautioned at the current resolution 1/312500 would not be visible to the naked eye. "Then can you magnify the image?" asked your LakeCountyEye. "Piece of cake" replied the LakeCountyEye graphics department.

Here is the dollar bill at 2X and 4X magnifications ...

Neither of which are sufficient.

At some higher magnifications ...

If you were hoping to see what portion of a dollar represents the County Board pay raises, there is still a long way to go. Although 16X reminds your LakeCountyEye ... of the LakeCountyEye.

Clearly more massive firepower was called for. The LakeCountyEye graphics department offered to perform a fractal regression on the image ...

100X is either a cataract in George's eye or the Federal deficit.

"Aren't these pay raises so slight that the Benjamin needs to be magnified something on the order of 300,000 times?" your LakeCountyEye asked. "I'll dust off the LakeCountyEye electron microscope" replied the LakeCountyEye graphics department ...

Paydirt. The money-shot is at 320000X. The LakeCountyEye graphics department was nice enough to photoshop in the word QUARKS. That indicates the portion of the County Budget that covers Board Chair Suzi Schmidt's $1600 pay raise.
Whew, seems a long way to go for a trifling whit. But your LakeCountyEye now has some nifty images that can juice up any boring webpage, even that Lake County page over here. Your LakeCountyEye is prepared to be a good citizen and can donate the images to the County free of charge. A definite plus come election time.

1 comment:

Nicki said...

Way cool graphics, Eye. Thanks for the smile this morning. And good point.