What’s A Trillion Dollars?

What’s A Trillion Dollars?

Economists are anticipating that the federal budget deficits will be in the trillions of dollars for a number of years. There are estimates that, with all federal efforts combined, the bailout and stimulus packages will be upwards of $7 trillion. I wonder if politicians who are so cavalier about using taxpayer money actually know how much a trillion dollars really is.

According to the Bureau of Engraving, a dollar bill is .0043 inches thick. That means that a stack of 100 new dollar bills would be .43 inches tall. A thousand is 4.3 inches. A million is a thousand thousands, so a million dollars is 4,300 inches. Converted to feet, that is about 358 feet high. A trillion is a million millions, so a trillion dollars would be a stack of money 358 million feet tall. If you convert that to miles, the dollar stack would stand 67,866 MILES high! It would wrap around the equator more than two times.

For another perspective, I saw an ad in the paper just this morning, offering bread for $1.99 per loaf. A loaf is 4 inches tall, so one dollar will buy a 2 inch tall loaf of bread. If, instead of using .0043 inches, the thickness of a dollar bill, we substitute 2 inches, the thickness of a loaf of bread that 1 dollar will buy, we get a much more dramatic view. A stack of bread that $1 trillion can buy would reach up more than 31 million miles. Given the price of $2 per loaf, that would be 500 billion loaves of bread.

Considering that there are roughly 300 million people in the United States, that is enough bread to give about1600 loaves to every man, woman and child in America. It is enough to give each of the 6.5 billion people in the world 77 loaves apiece. Our politicians certainly don’t buy loaves of bread with the money. So where does it go? Where does it come from?

The answer to the second question is that it comes from out of thin air. Modern money is the creation of the monetary authorities, in the case of America, the Federal Reserve and fractional reserve inflationary credit. Money is only as valuable as the goods it can be used to buy. Wealth and prosperity only come from production and never, under any circumstances, from money created by a central bank. When more money is made from nothing, with no increase in production, the primary effect is to increase prices. More dollars in the system changes the ratio of dollars to goods, and prices have to rise.

Prices should be decreasing significantly at this point in the downturn, lowering the cost of living for everyone, making everything easier to buy. They are, however, being propped up by your government. They are also establishing the next big wave of the cycle, and the choice in the near future will be runaway inflation or excruciatingly high interest rates.

Not too many years ago, the outrage was over politicians’ callousness when dealing in terms of billions. Billions lead to trillions, which lead to tens of trillions, then hundreds of trillions. Zimbabwe has put it in high gear with an inflation rate of over 1 million percent per year. Their government destroyed their monetary system and economy by making lots of money out of thin air.

We may never get to the point where we have a million percent inflation rate, but if we don’t start holding our elected officials accountable, they will destroy our economy, even more so than they have so far. From the ridiculous and irresponsible things that they keep doing, that destruction actually seems to be their goal.

The first question above, where does all the money go, is a very good one. It’s all a deep, dark secret. In spite of the rhetoric about transparency, you won’t really see where most of it goes. I’m sure that bailout millionaires will be grateful for your contribution to their investment fund.

A trillion dollars is an incredible sum of money. Incredible sums invite incredible abuse. Maybe something good will come of this whole mess. Just maybe, the people of this country will finally see through the scam that both Republicans and Democrats in congress have been perpetrating for decades. Maybe we will start to see some real change in the next few years when hundreds of crooked Washington politicians are kicked out.

Hey, anything’s possible when people use their heads, isn’t it?

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