Friday, February 6, 2009

So How Much is a Trillion Really?

As we all know, the government is getting ready to spend one trillion dollars to stimulate the economy. We hear the number thrown around all the time now and it barely raises an eyebrow. This morning I heard an economist on TV say, somewhat frustratedly, that the vast majority of people don't understand and frankly can't comprehend how enormous that number is. I was curious, so I googled it.

Obviously I knew a trillion was a huge number, but I still found myself to be quite interested and even astonished by some of the stats.

A trillion = A thousand billion = A million million

A 1 with 12 zeros (1,000,000,000,000)

Some examples I found used time to explain how big the number is.

  • A million seconds is about 12 days
  • A billion seconds is about 32 years
  • A trillion seconds is about 32,000 years

Some examples use stacks of dollar bills.

  • A thousand $1 bills stacked, not laid end to end, measures 4.3 inches tall
  • A million = 358 feet (35 stories)
  • A billion = 358,500 feet (68 miles - well into the atmosphere)
  • A trillion = 67,866 MILES (1/4 of the way to the moon)

And what about end-to-end? This Site claims it would take a military jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out dollar bills behind it end-to-end, 14 years before it reeled out a trillion dollars.

And finally, here are some of the best examples to help explain a trillion in terms of spending.

  • If you spent $1 million every day since the birth of Christ, you still wouldn't have spend $1 trillion (You'd be at roughly $725 billion and have some 734 years to go) - AMAZING!
  • You could pave the entire US interstate highway system in 24 karat gold according to this site.
  • And how would you raise $1 trillion? If every man, woman, and child in the US (300 million) each chipped in, they would each pay $3,400. For those of you following the new octupulet babies, that would be $51,000 from their mother who now has 14 children.
  • If just tax payers chipped in (138 million), they would pay $7,300 each or $14,600 per married couple. Better start saving up! I think the bills go out next year.


Tuff Kidder said...

Very interesting
1 trillion.
I think Google has about 2 billion searchs per month.
I think in the united States we use about 145 billion gallons of Gasoline per year

nickoloffs said...

wow! that's awesome...really makes you think!

hope you guys are good!!! we miss you!!! maybe we will come see you for an afternoon here soon...