Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Does $1 Trillion Look Like?

According to Goldman Sachs, the U.S. government may sell a record $3.25 Trillion of debt this fiscal year ending September 30, in an attempt to end the steepest U.S. recession in half a century.

This additional debt will be added to the current $11.25 Trillion national debt, meaning the total debt will probably exceed the entire GDP before the year is over. Last year, the GDP was $14 Trillion, but it is undergoing a serious contraction this year.

Meanwhile the budget deficit has already reached $1 Trillion — the first time it has ever reached that lofty sum — and it is expected to reach $1.84 Trillion by the end of this fiscal year (Sept. 30).

We shouldn't be surprised if the deficit reaches $2 Trillion, as these numbers have already gotten so completely out of hand. And once you're talking a about a trillion, what's a few billion more, right?

With all this talk of trillion of dollars, and the figure being tossed around rather casually, perhaps we should put $1 Trillion in perspective.

A stack of $1,000 dollar bills four inches high would equal $1 million.

A stack of $1,000 dollar bills 358 feet high would equal $1 billion.

A stack of $1,000 dollar bills 67.9 miles high would equal $1 Trillion.

You could line the side of the road from Springfield, MA to Albany, NY with $1,000 dollar bills — stacked on their sides — and that would equal $1 trillion.

The following graphic provides a better understanding of amount of money we're talking about. Bear in mind, this is only $1 Trillion; the federal budget for ONE YEAR is $3.6 Trillion, and our debt will soon exceed $13 Trillion.


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