WASHINGTON (CAP) - It received very little attention when it was revealed as part of President Obama's current fiscal budget proposal, but a lesser-known provision in the budgetary outline could drastically affect the way Americans deal with money, time and a wide array of other number-critical areas.
"The use of lower-case numbers will have an immediate and substantial affect, pretty much across the board," said Frank Sanchez Undersecretary to the Commerce Department. "This is yet another tool to combat the current economic crisis. We have little letters, why not little numbers?"
While the actual look of the new numbers is still being worked out by a special presidential task force, leaks suggest that several numbers - including the one and three - already have their lowercase versions assigned to them.
"Word is that the lowercase one will have a dot over it, while the lower case three will have a little twisty propeller thingie sticking out of the top of it," said one source at the Commerce Department. "It's slow going, understandably, but the task force is hoping to wrap up its work sometime in mid- to late summer."
The business community has embraced the concept, and many Fortune 500 companies have announced plans to post their Q2 profit/loss sheets using lowercase numbers, assuming the numbers are ready at that time and that their spreadsheets are looking more red than black.
"Our stock plunges 10%, damn straight it's a lowercase number loss," said one GM executive. "So long as our bailout money comes in uppercase numbers, I'm behind the new system 100%, large."
The proposal is getting a mixed reception out in the general population, where many see it as one more unfathomable, numerical trick devised by big business, like the metric system. Others are more cautiously optimistic.
"Well, this isn't really the change I voted for, but I'll try it for a while and see how it works out," said Buffalo hairstylist Wanda Woo. "So long as my boobs stay uppercase and my age lowercase, count me in."
The Presidential ee cummings Memorial Numerical Nomenclature Re-Alignment Initiative is expected to cost $58 billion when President Obama's final budget is released. Officials are not saying whether that figure will be in upper or lowercase billions.
- Rich Gray