Technology with attitude

One Trillion is No Small Number

7

The number one trillion is thrown around a lot these days. That’s 1,000,000,000,000 — a number so large it’s very difficult to put into context. Perhaps that’s why there has been and continues to be so little concern over our $10 trillion debt. Or over some of the numbers being suggested for the stimulus..

But let’s just stop and consider how big a number we’re actually talking about. Here’s some good examples of what a trillion really means:

1 trillion $1 bills stacked together would reach 68,000 miles, a third of the way to the moon.

If you spent a million dollars every day for 2,000 years, you’d only spend about 3/4 of a trillion.

A million seconds is about 11½ days. A billion seconds is about 32 years, and a trillion seconds is 32,000 years.

You get the idea. We’ve moved past the fathomable. That’s not an argument that we should halt stimulus plans. But we should be profoundly aware of the unprecedented size of what we’re undertaking, as well as the gigantic hole of debt we’ve already dug. Those Senators who are cautious about the proposed stimulus package are right to be so. This is not a matter to be leapt into blindly. We need to get this right because we likely won’t be able to afford to do it again.