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October 29, 2009

How much is a TRILLION?

Bill Brosius

Kinda rolls nicely off the tongue, doesn’t it? Don’t know about you but I have been having a tough time getting my head around a trillion, let alone 10 trillion; much less 40 trillion. One trillion is 1,000,000,000,000. Put a dollar sign in front and you’re talking about unreal money.


One billion and 55 million minutes have ticked off since Jesus Christ was born. That is a bit more than one tenth of one percent of one trillion. Moses led his people out of Egypt 3,284 years, or about one billion, 726 million minutes ago, which is less than two tenths of one percent of one trillion minutes.


One trillion seconds would take us back to 30,000 B.C., which is about the time when our species, Homo sapiens, became dominant over the Neanderthals. A trillion days ago is so far back I can’t even imagine it. By one reckoning, the earth is less than five billion years old, and that is but a small part of one trillion.


The world is 24,901 miles around the equator. If you measured it in inches, you would have to go around the world 634 times to have measured off one trillion inches.


If you were comparing the distance to the moon and back to one trillion, you would have to make 367 round trips, before having measured out one trillion feet.


If Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, were to spend 10 million dollars every day, it would take him 274 years to pay out $1,000,000,000,000.


My heartbeat, when I’m at rest, is 60 per minute, and yours is about the same. That is over three million each year. It would require 31,709 years for us to have one trillion heartbeats.


Let's plant some trees. You are given the task of planting trees on all the acres of this earth that are not in the oceans. (That is almost 37 billion acres of good and bad land, forest, desert, mountains, in short everywhere except in the oceans) If you and each helper transplant a tree every 5 minutes, or 19,200 trees a year, it would require 52,083,000 man-years to plant all these trees. If you can commandeer the active and reserve U.S. armed forces, 2,300,000 strong, this entire work force would have to work 23 years to plant these one trillion trees.


With new deficits of ten trillion dollars, each household in the United States will be saddled with the new, repeat new, deficit being added to what we are already carrying. And President Barack Obama is talking of $40 trillion debt.


How do you plan to pay that off, and the social security debt, and the new medical plan debt, and the other coming deficits? With taxes? With inflation?


“The combined unfunded liability of Social Security and Medicare is now 107 trillion dollars in today’s money [without the new proposals of the president and Congress], which is seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the U,S, outstanding debt”. So said Pamella Villarreal of the National Center for Policy Analysis Brief Analysis #662 dated June 11, 2009.


What, me worry?


What shall we do about it?


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