What is a trillion dollars?

created 17/09/2003 - 22:55, updated 08/03/2009 - 19:36 by cybe
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What's a trillion dollars?

A trillion dollars = $1,000,000,000,000.

That's 12 zeroes to the left of the decimal point. A trillion is a million million dollars.

The U.S. government spends more than the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Australia, China and Spain combined. If you laid one dollar bills end to end, you could make a chain that stretches from earth to the moon and back again 200 times before you ran out of dollar bills! One trillion dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun. It would take a military jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out a roll of dollar bills behind it, 14 years before it reeled out one trillion dollar bills.

What is frightening is that government will continue to grow in America unless citizens prevent it. If government stays on the course it's been on for the past forty years without a radical change, the federal government will have a $10 TRILLION BUDGET by the year 2010.

Foolish politicians make pronouncements about the strength of the economy. The total debt obligation of the United States now exceeds 46 TRILLION DOLLARS.

American workers now net almost 30 percent less in real wages than they did in 1973. After taxes, two paychecks in a family barely equal the purchasing power one had thirty years ago.

What does one TRILLION dollars look like?

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Anonymous's picture

The total debt obligation of

The total debt obligation of the United States now exceeds 46 TRILLION DOLLARS.

isn't that a bit high??

Anonymous's picture

no!

no!
Anonymous's picture

ok, it's only 7 trillion or

ok, it's only 7 trillion or less. come on 46 trillion?

jackrorabbit's picture

Actually...

It is over 70 trillion. How do I get there?
Well, currently we have a debt of current spending of 11 trillion
We have a future payments debt(this means money that must be spent, but hasn't yet) of 54 trillion (social security, medicare, medicaid), and then all of the TARP, AIG, and other bailouts are on yet another book, and we know that is at least 3 trillion. Wake up, the USA is BROKE, unless we change the rules of how our Government spends money.

Anonymous's picture

What he is refering to is the

What he is refering to is the total US debt obligation,a and he is right, it far exceeds our ability to pay. If we ran our daily lives the way we allow our government to function, we would be in jail! Think about it, we let the government pile up debt and just pass it along. Its like saying "I want this $1,000,000 dollar home, but i cant afford it, but between me, my children, and their children, we will pay this sucker off one day". We need a hard ass business type like Donald Trump to come in and get our finances in order. Someone who is afraid to make tough choices. If we dont do it now we are doomed, its only a matter of time.

Anonymous's picture

typo lol....someone who ISN'T

typo lol....someone who ISN'T afraid :)

tim's picture

its impossible to make 14

its impossible to make 14 trillion dollars

tim's picture

its impossible to make 14

its impossible to make 14 trillion dollars

tim's picture

its impossible to make 14

its impossible to make 14 trillion dollars

Anonymous's picture

That is extremely scary. That

That is extremely scary. That type of money can wipe out world hunger in a heart beat. I think it is better to play 3d casino games than trust them

Anonymous's picture

Its 14 Trillion something.

Its 14 Trillion something. check out usdebtclock.org

Anonymous's picture

Its 14 Trillion something.

Its 14 Trillion something. check out usdebtclock.org

Anonymous's picture

With that much money, it is

With that much money, it is understandable that a small billion or two can disappear this way and that. They are just gambling online with our futures.

Anonymous's picture

True

That's true, but the real problem is the totally uneven distribution of wealth. The rich get richer, the poor get even poorer, and it's almost impossible to get a real job today.
Anonymous's picture

Money

....Who is the Uninted states of america in debt to ? thats $58,000.000 each man ,woman and child in america ....
Anonymous's picture

how much

its only 15 trillion according to the news in feb 29 2012

cybe's picture

Looking into it

I did some looking into this. Here's what I've found out so far. I might look into it some more.


 

http://www.truthout.org/docs_03/053003A.shtml

 

Editor's Note | Many financial experts have warned that the massive budget deficits described in the article below will bankrupt this country for the next 25 years. One must also ponder whether the drafting of this report was the main reason Paul O'Neill was removed as Treasury Secretary. - wrp


Economy
White House Shelved 44 Trillion Deficit Report?
By Peronet Despeignes of the Financial Times
Thursday 29 May 2003

Study commissioned by O'Neill sees $44 trillion in red ink

The Bush administration has shelved a report commissioned by the Treasury that shows the U.S. currently faces a future of chronic federal budget deficits totaling at least $44 trillion in current U.S. dollars.

The study, the most comprehensive assessment of how the U.S. government is at risk of being overwhelmed by the “baby boom” generation’s future healthcare and retirement costs, was commissioned by then-Treasury secretary Paul O’Neill.

But the Bush administration chose to keep the findings out of the annual budget report for fiscal year 2004, published in February, as the White House campaigned for a tax-cut package that critics claim will expand future deficits.

The study asserts that sharp tax increases, massive spending cuts or a painful mix of both are unavoidable if the U.S. is to meet benefit promises to future generations. It estimates that closing the gap would require the equivalent of an immediate and permanent 66 percent across-the-board income tax increase.

The study was being circulated as an independent working paper among Washington think-tanks as President George W. Bush on Wednesday signed into law a 10-year, $350 billion tax-cut package he welcomed as a victory for hard-working Americans and the economy.

The analysis was spearheaded by Kent Smetters, then-Treasury deputy assistant secretary for economic policy, and Jagdessh Gokhale, then a consultant to the Treasury. Mr. Gokhale, now an economist for the Cleveland Federal Reserve, said: “When we were conducting the study, my impression was that it was slated to appear [in the Budget]. At some point, the momentum builds and you think everything is a go, and then the decision came down that we weren’t part of the prospective budget.”

Mr. O’Neill, who was fired last December, refused to comment.

The study’s analysis of future deficits dwarfs previous estimates of the financial challenge facing Washington. It is roughly equivalent to 10 times the publicly held national debt, four years of U.S. economic output or more than 94 percent of all U.S. household assets. Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chairman, last week bemoaned what he called Washington’s “deafening” silence about the future crunch.

President Bush signed into law a $350 billion tax-cut package on Wednesday saying:‘ ‘We can say loud and clear to the American people: You got more of your own money to spend so that this economy can get a good wind behind it.”

The estimates reflect the extent to which the annual deficit, the national debt and other widely reported, backward-looking data are becoming archaic and misleading as measures of the government’s solvency. Mr. Smetters, now a University of Pennsylvania finance professor, said tax cuts were only a fraction of the imbalance, and that the bigger problem “is the whole [budget] language we’re using.”

Laurence Kotlikoff, an expert on long-term budget accounting, alleged in a recent Boston Globe editorial that the Bush administration suppressed the research to ease passage of the tax-cut plan.

An administration official said the study was designed as a thought-piece for internal discussion — one among many left every year on the cutting-room floor — and noted the budget’s extensive discussion of projected, 75-year Social Security and Medicare shortfalls.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)


 

Here's a bit from a press briefing by Ari Fleischer where he says the report is isn't true.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/20030529-4.html

............Q Can you clarify -- there's a report out of the Financial Times out of London that says -- the Treasury Department, that former Secretary O'Neill had commissioned a report to evaluate the federal deficit, they came up with a figure of $44 trillion, and that that report was shelved in the budget of 2004. Is that accurate?

MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, that's an erroneous report. There's nobody at Treasury who was involved in this. I think there may have been some retired people, people who left Treasury, who had some thoughts. But we agree with their thoughts. If you take a look at President Bush's own budget, you'll find in the budget President Bush submitted to the Congress, the President warned about these long-term structural deficits -- it was a chapter called, "The Real Fiscal Danger" -- on page 31 of the President's own budget where he warned that Social Security and Medicare and the nation's entitlement programs are creating a tremendous burden of debt on the next generation of Americans, which is why entitlement reform is so necessary.

This is why the President wants to create a system of social security based on personal accounts on a voluntary basis, to relieve that crushing debt. There is no question that Social Security and Medicare and the nation's entitlement programs are going to present next generations with a crushing debt burden, unless policymakers work seriously to reform those programs.

Q So just to be clear, the Treasury Department did not commission that study?

MR. FLEISCHER: You can talk to Treasury about it, but my understanding is there is nothing like this underway at Treasury, and nobody working at Treasury has been working on this. There may have been some people in a private capacity outside of the Treasury Department who worked on various projects, but those are not federal employees............

Anonymous's picture

too bad the middle class

too bad the middle class gets stuck with this bill. isn't something that our government wants to cut taxes for the poor and the rich corporations.
Anonymous's picture

A billion is really a

A billion is really a Bi-Million ie million 6 x 0s, Bi-Million 2 x 6 0s = 12 0s

A trillion likewise, Tri-Million 18 x 0s

But the yanks bless their cotton little socks, couldn't cope with that so we have the Billion 9 x 0s and Trillion 12 x 0s. Why did they have to confuse things.

Anonymous's picture

Because we won the war.

Because we won the war.

whazzoo's picture

Which war would that be?

Which war would that be?

bohdanmaks's picture

because

because otherwise we'd be saying "a hundred thousand million," and that's just idiotic.

Anonymous's picture

the 44 trillion was in

the 44 trillion was in "current us dollars" in the value of that has gone done alot so it is probably about three times that with the drop of the dollar and sepending in iraq

Anonymous's picture

One Trillion Dollars

Do Not, Repeat, DO NOT Put all the Blame on President George W. Bush. He is only one(1) person. As the President, He is battling with 535 members of Congress., whom writes the bills and spends the money.

Take a Darn Good Look at who's been The House of Reps or the US Senate, their positions, and how long they have been in there.

In the quest of Honesty, lets be honest, and put a way all the B.S.

Sad Thing is, is that we, the American People, always vote the same idiots in there year after year, decades after decades., Never seen a ""POOR"" Politican yet, has anyone else seen a ""Poor""politican yet.? I doubt it.

Used to have a saying., screw me once shame on you, screw me twice, shame on me !!!!

Anonymous's picture

Now the national debt is

Now the national debt is over $10 trillion. It's become so large that today a dollar sign was removed from the National Debt Clock to make room for another digit. Unbelievable!

Anonymous's picture

ITS TIME FOR REAL AMERICANS TO TAKE OVER

WHAT EVER IT IS...PEOPLE OF AMERICA LET ME SAY THIS...ECONOMY IS RAN BY CONSUMERS..PRICES HAVE GONE OUT OF CONTROL..OIL, GASOLINE, FOOD, CLOTHING, HOUSING, ETC.. THIS RECESION IS LIKE A RESET BUTTON FOR EVERYBODY.. THE PEOPLE HAVE PRESSED THIS BUTTON..WHY?.. BECAUSE WE ARE TIRED OF CERTAIN PEOPLE GETTING RICH OUT OF HARD WORKING PEOPLE THAT GET UP EARLY EVERY DAY TO GO TO WORK...WHILE OUR FAMILIES ARE ALONE SURROUNDED BY A BUNCH OF CROOKS AND BAD INFLUENCE FOR OUR KIDS THAT LIVE IN ALL OF OUR NEIGHBORHOODS IN ALL LEVELS...IT´S FUNNY HOW GREAT MINDS THAT RAN THIS COUNTRY IN THE PAST HAVE DESAPPEARED...WHAT HAVE HAPPEN TO WHITE CLEAN CUT AMERICA?..NOW WE HAVE A BLACK CANDIDATE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.WHATS THAT ABOUT? NOT EVEN HIS OWN RACE ACCEPT THIS CANDIDATE..STOP PRETENDING OTHER KINDS WILL RESCUE OUR COUNTRY..NO SUCH THING..WHAT´S NEXT A CHINESE OR ARABIAN CANDITATE?...WE ARE SUPPOST TO BE THE CREAM OF THE CROP OF ALL COUNTRIES..WHAT TYPE OF RESPECT THEN WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AMONG OTHERS...WE ARE BEING RAN BY IDIOTS, NO EXPERIENCE, NO EDUCATION AND WHATS WORSE DRUG ADDICTS THAT SETTLE FOR NUDY BARS, CADILLACS AND GO FOR THE EASIEST WAY TO GET OUT OF THINGS...AMERICANS IS TIME TO GET UP AND SHOUT ¨WE WANT THE REAL AMERICA¨..IMIGRANTS ARE WELCOME WELLED DOCUMENTED WITH BACKGROUNDS CHECKED AND ONLY IF THEY ARE HAND PICKED BY GOD ARE ALLOWED TO COME IN AND WORK HARD FOR THEIR FAMILIES, BUT THEY NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT AMERICA IS RAN ONLY BY A CERTAIN KIND OF PEOPLE..THEY CAN JUST SIT, WATCH AND LISTEN BUT CANNOT SHARE THEIR IDEAS, LANGUAGES OR TRY TO CHANGE THE SISTEM...ONLY REAL AMERICANS KNOW HOW IT HURTS TO SEE THIS COUNTRY GO TO HELL...PRICES NEED TO GO DOWN...IMMIGRATION NEEDS TO BE REGULATED....HOUSING PRICES NEED TO DECREASE BY 50-65% SO LITTLE JOHNNY COULD HAVE A ROOM TO DREAM IN AND BECOME A SUCCESS JUST LIKE BILL GATES...WHAT HAPPEN TO TV, MUSIC, MOVIES...IT´S ALL GARBAGE DESTROYING OUR MINDS..PEOPLE ARE TIRED, CANT AFFORD THE GOOD o´DAYS THAT OUR PAST GOVERNORS DREAMED FOR US NOW..THATS WHY WE HAVE ACCEPTED AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE DIVORCE, CHILD SUPPORT, DRUG ABUSE, LOW INCOME, LOW SELF STEEM, AND NOT GIVING A DAMN ABOUT OUR COUNTRY RULES AND THATS IN EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD ACROSS OUR COUNTRY..I SUGGEST EVERYBODY THINK TWICE ABOUT OUR COUNTRY AND REALLY GET BACK ON THEIR FEET OTHER WISE ITS WORTHLESS ALL THE EFFORTS SINCE DAY ONE THAT OUR CREATORS MADE FOR US NOW, THE DREAM LAND...GOD IS WATCHING US, HE KNOWS OUR HEARTS BUT CANNOT ACCEPT THE FACT THAT WE AS LEADERS HAVE FAILED...WAKE UP..MOVE ON...AND LETS GET BACK ON OUR FEET...NO MORE LOANS TO PEOPLE THAT CAN AFFORD ONE..NO MORE HELP TO OTHER COUNTRIES...NO MORE ALLOWING OTHER MINDS TO COME IN AND DESTROY OUR BEAUTIFUL LAND...AMERICA WASN´T ABOUT BEING A SYMBOL FOR SEX, DRUGS, AND VIOLANCE..IT WAS ABOUT TECHNOLOGY, PROGRESS, DICOVERY, FINANCIAL FREEDOM AND A NICE HOME WHERE YOU LAID YOUR HEAD WITH OUT ANY PROBLEM WHATS SO EVER..STOP BUYING INFECTED AND CONTAMINATED PRODUCTS FROM OVER SEAS..WE NEED TO BRING BACK PRODUCTS THAT ARE LABELED ¨MADE IN THE USA¨..WELL MONEY IS DEBT, DEBT IS MONEY BUT WHO´S FAULT IS IT REALLY?..I SIT AND I AWAIT FOR MY CHANCE BUT YOU WONT HEAR FROM ME TILL 20 YEAR FROM NOW..¨GOD BLESS AMERICA¨ BETTER KNOWN AS THE HOME OF THE FORNICATORS AND THIEVES...GEORGE WASHINGTON!!!

edbu02's picture

very nice speech. hate to

very nice speech.
hate to rain on your parade but i'm afraid we're finished as a nation.
your best bet.learn mandarin

lookingforthetruth518's picture

Response to: "it's time for all Americans to take over."

Why do you have to write in all caps? Damn!

lookingforthetruth518's picture

Response to: "it's time for all Americans to take over."

Why do you have to write in all caps? Damn!

Peter B  (UK)'s picture

Not sure what you mean by

Not sure what you mean by moderate. My language is never foul to the mildest of people, might be a bit sharp though. I can't remember what I said but it was along the lines of, if you had not have messed with the Billion/Trillion thing then your debt would not seem so much.

I am not a geek so what you mean by HTML is a mystery to me.

philip's picture

US debit

the status of our economy---as of 10/25/08----just a guess by my accounts shows a debit totaling about 98 trillion US dollars-----------there is a possibility perhaps that this sum total does not exist in actual US currency---the combined debits--national trade deficit & collapse of our Banking system ---well this seems that the impossible has happened----whats next in store ------help!---in god we trust---regulate what we make---thankyou a little guy.

Anonymous's picture

ok first, poor persons dont

ok first, poor persons dont pay taxes, you must make around 50k or higher before you pay income tax. Now Social Security ( pay bums ) and medicare ( also paying bums ) everyone making more than 600 dollars pays that. You have 2 classes of rich. The rich then the super rich. The rich ( doctors, small business owners ) get penalized the most out of all classes. The Super- rich ( ceo of Walmart or Microsoft ) They do not nearly pay as much in % in taxes as the middle class. Middle class can be from 20k to 300k depending on where you live. The more socialized the US becomes, the more it will be like Europe. An economy that basically is dull, and were the real typical European barely makes it by, unlike hollywood that paints everyone cruising in their overrated brand loving bmw.

Anonymous's picture

U.S. Bailout

A trillion dollar bailout!

We could have given all 305,222,640 million citizens of the United States a million dollars each and still not spent as much as our representatives did in the recent bailout of wall street!

The United States needs to learn that it can't continue on the path it is on and still call it a democracy.

Obama and his new team have their work cut out for them.

John's picture

Bailout

Bailouts,

Over a trillion dollars and climbing and no end in sight.

This amount has aleady been given to the Wall Street wealthy - it will disappear and they will come back for more. And likely no one will ever see it again. The bail out as proposed and executed so far certainly will have a marginal effect on you or me.
An alternative would be to give 10,000 dollars to each bonafide US family (with stings attached) then the amount of money spent would be $10,000 to ~$100,000,000 needy families.
If we do the math $10,000 x $100,000,000 = ~one trillion dollars and change (twelve zeros). The govt can always print money. You and I cannot.
The Obama proposal is $1,000 for families. That will not solve the economic issues. Ten thousand dollars per family might explode the economy, stop many foreclosures and kick start the ailing economy.
Isn't that better than handing trillions to Wall Street wealty? After all Clinton by Executive Order ordered them in 1996 to provide subprime loans to individuals who banks knew would be unable to pay it back, and would default. But if they did not provide the loans they disobeyed a Clinton executive order.

josephus's picture

debt history

it took the usa 240 years to accumulate 9 trillion, however in the last 18 months an additional 8 trillion has been added and before the bailout is complete another 3-4 will be added

Carl Street's picture

How much is a trillion

IF your take home pay after taxes was $10,000 an hour
AND you worked 8 hours a day, 50 weeks a year (2 weeks vacation)

You would have to work 50,000 years to earn one trillion dollars

drew458's picture

A dollar bill is 6.14 inches

A dollar bill is 6.14 inches long, so a trillion of them (a thousand thousand million for purists.) is almost 97 million miles long. That's a trip from the Sun to the Earth with enough left over to go from Earth to the Moon and back 8 times, and then drive from NYC to LA and back 14 times. And then drive to Pittsburgh PA.

A US One Dollar bill weighs just about 1 gram. A trillion grams is the same as 1,102,311 tons, (American tons of 2000 lbs) which is the displacement weight of about 11 quite large modern ocean liners or aircraft carriers.

Anonymous's picture

Whatever the amount, it will

Whatever the amount, it will never be paid. Where will those on the dole get their money from when the US gets foreclosed on?

ddallas's picture

Check out the peterson

Check out the peterson foundation at http://www.pgpf.org/
The true obligations of the government exceeds 56 trillion when you add in social security and medicare obligations.

Sheryl Ray's picture

Money!

When will the general Public get some of that money?

Bryan's picture

Banksters

The general public (We The People) will get some of that money (i.e. confiscated wealth that the rich have defrauded the poor out of wrongfully, by changing the Law - not that the paper money its self is worth anything) just as soon as they return to keeping perfectly fair unbiased and Just Law of God in the Bible (which forbids usury or lending at interest) and ENFORCE it!

http://100777.com/plan

The ONLY solution is to enforce The Plan against the traitorous Banking-Gangster N.W.O. Zion-Nazi mass-murder, inside-job perpetrators of OKC, 911, Bali, 7/7/2005 and the phoney War on Terror and Freedom, and reinstate God's Perfect Laws of Liberty and bring the perpetrators to Justice.

Time is running out

OBOMA's picture

money

WE ARE BROKE THIS IS THE LAST YEAR WE WILL LIFE IN USA WE WILL DIE in this year FOR THE LAST TIME WE ARE BOROKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AJC's picture

The U.S. Gov't is more like

The U.S. Gov't is more like $100 trillion in debt. Don't take my word for it...read the CNBC article linked below from June 13, 2011 discussing the issue with Bill Gross,CEO of Pimco (the worlds largest bond fund managing $1.2 trillion).

http://www.cnbc.com/id/43378973

We're in deep sh*t for a long time to come...and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Vegeta's picture

OVER 9000 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nappa : Vegeta what is are current debt
Vegeta : IT"S OVER 9000 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Irene Saenz's picture

PS.Please do not send any

PS.Please do not send any emails to me,I am swamped with emails,and don't even care to screen them any longer.Chances are high I will not receive your messages.My name:Irene Saenz Date of birth 7/15/1954,Do not swamp my phone with calls either because it belongs to a friend who I rent from.And the cell phone,well it belongs to a fam.member,because I didn't want to be bothered and I refused a phone or cell phone.I only use this phone,but it is registered as her phone,and possibly mine too.And also,as per my emails,I am not too certain that it has not be compromised and continues to be compromised.Why do I say that? Because it has been in the past,and as per now,well,I went to get a Sub flash drive and did not know how to use it,and the library helped,however,I discovered that it has limitations that possibly others do not have.I can do things and create things,but I am too lazy to repeat a receipe or a dance that I might have created.P.O.box 4002 Westminster,Ca.92684 for now..

Mens wallets leather's picture

Impossible.....

Impossible to take 14 trillion dollars...A US One Dollar bill weighs just about 1 gram. A trillion grams is the same as 1,102,311 tons, (American tons of 2000 lbs) which is the displacement weight of about 11 quite large modern ocean liners or aircraft carriers.

Anonymous's picture

;/[];'[];];[];[];

;/[];'[];];[];[];

.plp.'s picture

958985292589528925892589

958985292589528925892589

ghd australia's picture

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Liepa's picture

A trillion is a million

A trillion is a million million dollars :) I would like to have $1,000,000,000,000 :)

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