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Numb and number: Is trillion the new billion?

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posted on Feb, 4 2009 @ 10:20 PM
I just grabbed these figures off of CNN...check it out!!

Numb and number: Is trillion the new billion?

A billion is a thousand million, and a trillion is a thousand billion.

To provide some perspective on just how big a trillion dollars is, think about it like this: A trillion dollars is the number 1 followed by 12 zeroes. Or you can think of it this way: One trillion $1 bills stacked one on top of the other would reach nearly 68,000 miles (about 109,400 kilometers) into the sky, or about a third of the way from the Earth to the moon.

Some Republicans are hardly over the moon about the growing size of the proposed economic stimulus plan. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said this week that Americans have become desensitized to just how much money that is.

"To put a trillion dollars in context, if you spend a million dollars every day since Jesus was born, you still wouldn't have spent a trillion," McConnell said.

CNN checked McConnell's numbers with noted Temple University math professor and author John Allen

"A million dollars a day for 2,000 years is only three-quarters of a trillion dollars. It's a big number no matter how you slice it," Paulos said.

Here's another way to look at it.

"A million seconds is about 11½ days. A billion seconds is about 32 years, and a trillion seconds is 32,000 years," Paulos said. "People tend to lump them together, perhaps because they rhyme, but if you think of it in terms of a jail sentence, do you want to go to jail for 11½ days or 32 years or maybe 32,000 years? So, they're vastly different, and people generally don't really have a real visceral grasp of the differences among them."

Everyone is tossing around the words million, billion and trillion. With the national debt now topping $10 trillion, following a $700 billion bank rescue and proposed $800 billion-plus stimulus package, have we become numb to the numbers?

Perhaps a better way to get a "grasp of the numbers," Paulos said, is to use them to describe the budgets of government programs.

"The [Environmental Protection Agency's], for example, annual budget is about $7.5 billion. So, a trillion dollars would fund the EPA in present dollars for 130 years -- more than a century. Or the National Science Foundation or National Cancer Institute have budgets of $5 [billion] or $6 billion. You could fund those for almost 200 years," he said.

Times have certainly changed.

posted on Feb, 4 2009 @ 10:44 PM
Maybe we should change the name trillion to "ludicrous" or "are you out of your mind."

Our government is spending us into an oblivion.

posted on Feb, 4 2009 @ 10:50 PM
Here's the CNN report:

Y'know, if you fed quarters into a parking meter at one coin per second, it would take over 7.6 million years to spend a trillion dollars.

As for the difference between a billion and a trillion...

There are over 1.3 billion people in China and they still have plenty of room for forests and sparsely populated areas. If there were 1 trillion people on Earth -- evenly spaced -- we would all be standing within 40 feet of each other on every square mile of dry land on the planet.

[edit on 4-2-2009 by Tuning Spork]

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