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Taking a realistic look at how deep our deficit is

May 7, 2011
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The U.S. budget is now measured in trillions of dollars. While we can use the word "trillion," few have any concept of the actual size of that number. Let's talk about a trillion dollars?

Let's do this in $100 bills, the largest bills printed by the treasury department today. One trillion dollars in $100 bills would weigh about 12,000 tons. That's about 120 boxcar loads.

Placed end to end, they would stretch over 966,698 miles. That would go around the world over 38 and 2/3 times, or from here to the moon four times with more to spare. (Center to center.)

They would cover over 25,632 acres. That's over 40 square miles. Imagine a farm 5 miles by 8 miles, papered with $100 bills.

Stacked up, they would make a stack over 678 miles high.

Packed snugly, they would fill a cube 73.69 feet on a side, that's over 400,000 cubic feet. That's about the size of a 70 story building.

If you spent $100 per second, it would take well over 316 years to spend a trillion dollars.

If, like the TV program "The Millionaire," you wanted to give strangers a million dollars each, with a trillion, you could give 1 million people such a gift.

I did these calculations myself. I'm assuming a $100 bill weighs a tiny bit more than one gram and that they measure 6 1/8 inches long by 2 5/8 inches high by .0043-inch thick.

Justin Skywatcher

Wellsburg

 
 

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