What is a trillion dollars?

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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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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.




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

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.


............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............

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