December 2, 2009


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Have you ever stopped and thought about how much a trillion dollars is? Well, with the way that Congress and the Obama administration are spending those trillion dollars at a break-neck speed, Americans need to get a handle on just how much our nation is going into debt each and every day that Congress tacks on another trillion dollar project. A trillion dollar healthcare proposal, the trillion dollar cost for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the trillion dollar bailout of financial companies and the list seemingly goes on and on.
If you are like me, most Americans can comprehend a number that has up to four zeros behind it,  like 50,000. But once you start adding more zeros, our eyes kind of glass over and we accept the fact that the number is big.
The number one trillion, which is a one followed by 12 zeros, has become the new magic amount in Washington, D.C. It is replacing the number one billion, which is a one followed by nine zeros.
A billion is a thousand million, and a trillion is a thousand billion.
Or to look at it in another way:
• One trillion $1 bills stacked one on top of the other would reach nearly 68,000 miles into the sky, or about a third of the way from the Earth to the moon.
• If you had spent a million dollars every day since Jesus was born, you still wouldn’t have spent a trillion dollars.
• A million seconds is about 11½ days. A billion seconds is about 32 years, and a trillion seconds is 32,000 years.
• One trillion $1 bills would weigh more than 11 aircraft carriers.
• It would take a football field full of double-stacked pallets of $100 to equal $1 trillion.
But other than expanded government, what would one trillion dollars buy?
• One trillion dollars would buy every person in Los Angeles a Lamborghini Gallardo, which retails over $200,000.
• One trillion dollars would pay off every American’s credit card debt.
• One trillion dollars could buy every person in the world an iPod.
• One trillion dollars could buy 1,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies for every American.
• One trillion dollars would be enough to give every man, woman and child in the U.S. a check for $3,400.
• One trillion dollars is more than the combined gross revenues of Walmart, Exxon, General Motors and Ford Motors.
• You could buy a thousand Queen Mary 2 with accommodations for 2,620 passengers.
• One trillion dollars would pave the entire U.S. interstate highway system with 23½-karat gold leaf.
• You could buy 16.6 million Habitat for Humanity houses.
• One trillion dollars would fund the hiring of 1.9 million additional teachers.
The point is, members of Congress need to start making some very hard decisions on ways to reduce spending instead of continuing to increase spending or the economic troubles of this country could possibly grow even larger than they are today. Government finances are no different than are those of an individual or a business. No one can spend their way out of debt. And regardless of who you are, ultimately too much debt will result in a total financial collapse.