Friday, February 27, 2009

How much is a trillion?

The new buzzword this week, class, is "trillion." President Obama unveiled a proposed $3.6 trillion budget for fiscal 2010, accompanied by a $1.75 trillion federal deficit.

Now a trillion is a lot. A whoooooooooole lot. Remember when you asked your mother for something and she said, "Not in a million years." So you kind of took that as a no. Well, 1,000 millions is a billion, and 1,000 billions is a trillion. So if she said, "Not in a trillion years," that's really a no.

Let's look at a trillion in a few other measurements:

If we were to pay off that $1.75 trillion deficit at $1 per second, it would take 32,000 years. And there would still be $750 billion leftl to pay.

To equal $1 trillion, stack $100 bills all nice, neat and compressed and it would go 789 miles or 144 Mt. Everests.

If $1 bills were stacked end to end, to reach $1 trillion, it would stretch more than the earth to the sun, which is 93 million miles.

1.8 trillion pennies would fill the Empire State Building.

All 300 million Americans could have 1,000 Girl Scout cookies apiece. And the Girl Scouts would never have to bother with another fundraiser again.


lequino said...

I assume your column is meant as a criticism of the Obama stimulus plan. I do not recall any past criticisms from you of Republican devised deficits. Perhaps you feel tax breaks for the wealthiest in our society and funding for a war started on the basis of intelligence picked over to pull out any bit that supported their view and culling (to the degree of outing our own) any disagreeable evidence hasn't even the slighest tint of bias.

Perhaps you feel the prevailing attitudes of irresponsibility in our financial markets had nothing to do with the "hands off" attitude expounded by Republican leaders over the last thirty years.

Obama has the unpleasant task of salvaging our failing economy. Under other circumstances he would surely act diffently. I do not feel it's honorable or a sign of good character to cricize the man for trying to repair a terrible situation he had no hand in creating. You critique should be leveled at those banking institutions and the men who created the atmosphere for their indiscretions, not at the man who is attempting to repair those misdeeds.

Obama's plan may fail, but if it does the consequences for our future will be dire. Perhaps in you prideful desire to choose sides you've forgotten that unfortunate fact.

KF said...

....and I assume your column (blog) is meant to explain "How much is a trillion?"