Wednesday, July 28, 2010

13 ways to spend $1 trillion

From Kevin McCormally of Kiplinger on July 21:
The figure is almost incomprehensible: $1,000,000,000,000. One trillion dollars. That’s a dozen zeros.

The Congressional Budget Office reports that during the first nine months of fiscal 2010 -- which ends September 30 -- the federal government spent $1 trillion more than it took in. That’s another $1 trillion added to a total national debt that stood at just over $13 trillion as of the Fourth of July. (On the bright side, the trillion-dollar nine-month deficit was about $80 billion less red ink than flowed during the same period last year.)

Not so long ago, the idea of a “trillion” anything was so farfetched that it evoked a comic response similar to what the use of the word “gazillion” does today. The 1960s comment attributed to then Senate minority leader (and ever-vigilant deficit hawk) Everett Dirksen -- “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money” -- seems downright quaint today. (In 1965, the national debt was a paltry $317 billion.)

But, seriously, how much is $1 trillion? To help you wrap your head around that mind-boggling number, and to try to put deficit spending into perspective, consider what $1 trillion will buy, expressed in terms we can all understand:

$1 Trillion Would Buy:
The 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI wins Kiplinger’s Best in Class honors for cars in the $20,000-to-$25,000 price range. At a sticker price of $24,500 each, $1 trillion would let you drive away with a fleet of Jettas equivalent to 30% of all the cars already on U.S. highways. (The total U.S. car fleet is more than 135 million, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, excluding trucks and SUVs.)

$1 Trillion Would Buy:

According to the National Association of Realtors, the national median price for existing single-family homes in May was $179,400. There are about 80 million detached, single-family homes in the U.S., according to the NAR and the Census Bureau.


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Header PS Brush by