Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just What Does a Trillion Dollars Look Like?

All this talk about "stimulus packages" and "bailouts"...

A billion dollars...


A hundred billion dollars...

Eight hundred billion dollars...

One TRILLION dollars...

What does one trillion dollars look like? A church member of mine, David Stone, sent me an email which helped me visualize the amount of money at stake when the government spends one trillion dollars in a stimilus package, a bailout, or a budget deficit.

We'll start with a $100 dollar bill pictured above. Currently the $100 dollar bill is the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slighty fewer have owned them. Guaranteed to make friends wherever they go.

A packet of one hundred $100 bills, pictured below, is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than than the average American makes in three months of hard work.

Believe it or not, the next little pile of money below is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it if you wanted.

While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet, and would take you a few minutes to move from one room to another.

And $1 BILLION dollars... now we're really getting somewhere. It is ten pallets of $100 bills, pictured below, and it would take a great deal of effort to move from one location to another.

Next we'll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we've been hearing about so much. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it's a million million. It's a thousand billion. It's a one followed by 12 zeros.

You ready for this?

It's pretty surprising.

Go ahead...

Scroll down...

Ladies and gentlemen... I give you $1 trillion dollars...

Notice those pallets are double stacked. Do you see the little man in the red shirt to the far left? He kind of disappears doesn't he? Look close. Double click on the image to enlarge it if you desire. This picture illustrates just how massive the number one trillion really is.

You might ask, "Why post about this on your blog?"

Well, I heard a story this morning about President Obama.

It seems the Department of Defense briefed the President yesterday and told Obama that two Brazilian soldiers were killed in Iraq. To everyone's surprise in the briefing room, all the color drained from Obama's face. Then he collapsed onto his desk, head in his hands, visibly shaken, almost in tears.

Finally, he composed himself and asked, "Just how many is a brazilian?"

It seems the President has just as hard time of a time understanding a brazillion, as he does a billion and a trillion, so I thought I'd help him out.




Chris Ryan said...

The whole "Brazilian soldiers" joke has been around since will before Obama.

But that is definately a scary amount of money to be spending. And a great debt to pass on to future generations. There is no way to spend like that and cut the defecit. said...

It may have been around before Obama, but it didn't make my email inbox until today.


greg.w.h said...

A trillion here, a trillion there, and sooner or later you're talking real money.

--apologies to Everett Dirksen especially if he never made the statement with a "b-" instead of a "tr-"

But for an additional thought experiment, I offer this word picture of true riches:

What no eye has seen and no ear has heard,

and what has never come into a man's heart,

is what God has prepared for those who love Him.

Greg Harvey

Bob Cleveland said...

Put another way, if you stacked up enough of those $10,000 stacks to make a billion, you'd have a stack about four thousand feet tall.

Anonymous said...

Hope we get some industry back into this country again. And hope that we can grow food again as we used to, without the 'agracorp' complexes.

Time to roll up our sleeves and be America again.

Anonymous said...

At first I smiled, then laughed out loud, but now I am thinking of my 2 daughters.

Anonymous said...

All I know is there are a lot of us auditors out there that are going to have our hands full checking compliance on federal regulations for states using the money. As if OMB Circular A-133 wasn't enough of a headache.

Ok, for those of you who are not accountants, that was HILARIOUS.

greg.w.h said...

Continuing my comment on true riches:

So I neglected to mention this when it was precisely time relevant a week or so ago, but for those that might be interested:

My dad witnessed to me in his office in the main building of the First Baptist Church, Lawn, Texas 40 years ago this past March 1 and I invited Jesus into my heart that day. I made my profession of faith public the next day on March 2. And then when my maternal grandparents could join us two weeks later on March 16, I completed that action with the act of public baptism when my dad baptized me in the FRIGID COLD baptistry (the hot water heater in the baptistry wasn't working.)

All of this is clear memory to me which I thank God for in addition to the great salvation he has provided for me through Christ Jesus.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

A valid point to make is that the Cultural Marxist; Obama,has no intention of ever paying back that debt.

Steve said...

What's scary is the thought that the collapse of stock prices was all planned beforehand in pursiut of a Marxist agenda, with 25% or higher unemployment to follow.

Gram said...

i'm more concerned about what madoff did to his unknowing victims - that was intentionally CRIMINAL. at least he is finally in jail.

Neil Cameron (One Salient Oversight) said...

I read years ago of president Bush being told that 3 Brazilian people had died in Iraq - same response.

Anonymous said...

We thought we had all of our financial bases covered, and yesterday we found out that our life insurance company is in receivorship. (Missed that one, darn!) Oh well, now we can look everyone else in the face because we got hit, too.

Are insurance companies insured?
And who insures those insurers?
And . . . .

? Where does this end?

Ramesh said...

The origins of the current economic crisis are due to greed and sin. Both republicans and democrats share blame in this. Mostly it's the techocrats, bankers, politicians and greedy investors who are to share the majority of the blame.

I know you all seem to think Obama is spending so much money. The sad thing is it's not true. It's not enough. And this money is spread over many years. The money actually spent on visible infrastructure projects is small. Please read the following articles to understand why.
All the below links are from NYT:

A Tsunami of Excuses
IT’S been a year since Bear Stearns collapsed, kicking off Wall Street’s meltdown, and it’s more than time to debunk the myths that many Wall Street executives have perpetrated about what has happened and why. These tall tales — which tend to take the form of how their firms were the “victims” of a “once-in-a-lifetime tsunami” that nothing could have prevented — not only insult our collective intelligence but also do nothing to restore the confidence in the banking system that these executives’ actions helped to destroy.

Madoff Goes to Jail After Guilty Pleas to All Charges
Prosecutors said that Mr. Madoff concocted an elaborate charade to make it seem as if he were running a legitimate investment business when, in reality, “no such business was actually being conducted.”

He hired employees with little training or experience and directed them to generate false monthly account statements.

He shuttled millions between banks in New York and London to make it seem as if he was “conducting securities transactions in Europe on behalf of investors when, in fact, he was not conducting such transactions,” prosecutors said. And they said he repeatedly lied to regulators from the Securities and Exchange Commission to cover up his scheme.

Behind the Curve by Paul Krugman
President Obama’s plan to stimulate the economy was “massive,” “giant,” “enormous.” So the American people were told, especially by TV news, during the run-up to the stimulus vote. Watching the news, you might have thought that the only question was whether the plan was too big, too ambitious.

Yet many economists, myself included, actually argued that the plan was too small and too cautious. The latest data confirm those worries — and suggest that the Obama administration’s economic policies are already falling behind the curve.

Credit Crisis — The Essentials

The Reckoning: Articles in this series have explored the causes of the financial crisis

The Debt Trap: A series about the surge in consumer debt and the lenders who made it possible

How the Government Dealt With Past Recessions

Tracking the $700 Billion Bailout

Adding Up the Government’s Total Bailout Tab
Beyond the $700 billion bailout known as TARP, which has been used to prop up banks and car companies, the government has created an array of other programs to provide support to the struggling financial system. Through March 2, the government has made commitments of nearly $9 trillion and spent $2.1 trillion. Here is an overview, organized by the role the government has assumed in each case.

Bailout Plan: $2.5 Trillion and a Strong U.S. Hand
Administration officials committed to flood the financial system with as much as $2.5 trillion — $350 billion of that coming from the bailout fund and the rest from private investors and the Federal Reserve, making use of its ability to print money.
The below articles are from Baseline Scenario blog:

Baseline Scenario, 2/9/09

$7.8 Trillion and Counting
These from Fresh Air interviews with Terry Gross:

Simon Johnson On Bank Bailout Plan

Elizabeth Warren: Foreclosures Threaten Economy

What Does $700 Billion Buy Taxpayers?

Elizabeth Warren On The Rising Cost Of Credit Debt

Your Credit Report: Know Its Perils, Keep It Clean

Elizabeth Warren on the Credit Card Industry

ezekiel said...

Hey, I have seen the presses. They can prolly print that much in a week.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama is an obamanation.

Tough times is comin' folks...tough times is a comin'.


Ramesh said...

As of Dec 2007:

How Currency Gets into Circulation

There is about $829 billion dollars of U.S. currency in circulation; the majority is held outside the United States.

The Federal Reserve Banks distribute new currency for the U.S. Treasury Department, which prints it.

Depository institutions buy currency from Federal Reserve Banks when they need it to meet customer demand, and they deposit cash at the Fed when they have more than they need to meet customer demand.

As of December 2007, currency in circulation—that is, U.S. coins and paper currency in the hands of the public—totaled about $829 billion dollars. The amount of cash in circulation has risen rapidly in recent decades and much of the increase has been caused by demand from abroad. The Federal Reserve estimates that the majority of the cash in circulation today is outside the United States.

Ramesh said...

Please listen to this interview. Very enlightening. If you think Pastor Wade questions people in authority, then this interview is an understatement. Elizabeth Warren is very gentle, very clear and very persuasive.

Elizabeth Warren: Foreclosures Threaten Economy

Fresh Air from WHYY, March 9, 2009 · According to a report issued Mar. 6, 2009 by the Congressional Oversight Panel charged with monitoring the use of bailout funds, the rate of home foreclosure is now three times its historic rate — "so large that it threatens the entire economy."

Panel chairwoman Elizabeth Warren joins Fresh Air to discuss the foreclosure problem — and what can be done about it.

The Congressional Oversight Panel was created in October 2008 to oversee the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Warren was appointed chairwoman in the panel's first meeting. In December 2008, Warren criticized the bailout program for lacking a clear direction or approach.

Warren is a Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the co-author of The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers & Fathers Are Going Broke, which she wrote with her daughter in 2003.

Ramesh said...

Another possible cause of the economic mess on wall street and banks: Could it be due to the lack of women in wall street and banks? It's mostly "old boys network".

How would the world (economic) be different, if women are equally represented in the economic sectors?
Wall Street’s Women Face a Fork in the Road

Women and Wall Street

They Tried to Outsmart Wall Street
This article is not about women, but ... They are known as “quants” because they do quantitative finance. Seduced by a vision of mathematical elegance underlying some of the messiest of human activities, they apply skills they once hoped to use to untangle string theory or the nervous system to making money.

A (Slight) Pall Descends on Gala for Women Bankers

Terminated: Why the Women of Wall Street Are Disappearing

Anonymous said...


" . . people who bear crosses are working with the grain of the universe.

One does not come to that belief by . . .winning some of one’s battles for the control of one’s own corner of the fallen world.

One comes to it by sharing the life of those who sing about the Resurrection of the slain Lamb."

~John Howard Yoder

Anonymous said...


Psalm 130 (King James Version)

1 Out of the depths
have I cried unto thee, O LORD.

2 Lord, hear my voice:
let thine ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications.

3 If thou, LORD,
shouldest mark iniquities,
O Lord, who shall stand?

4 But there is
forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayest be feared.

5 I wait for the LORD,
my soul doth wait,
and in his word do I hope.

6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch
for the morning:
I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is
plenteous redemption.

8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

solomon said...

Pastor Wade,

I'd like to advise you that your joke will be accepted as fact by many who are eager to receive whatever they hear as long as it makes President Obama look bad.

I thought it was rather funny, but since I know how sharp our new president is, I immediately recognized it as humor.

But maybe this is sending a mixed message?

oc said...

Oh, here we go with the racist card once again. Let's not say anything, because it may be misperceived as racist by someone. That attitude might be great in the former USSR, but this is America and I for one refuse to tip toe through a mine field of racist ca ca.

Anonymous said...

The joke was first told about President Bush. It was tailored to play on his 'dyslexia' or difficulty with vocabulary and expressions. Bush genuinely had some difficulties and was the butt of jokes from time to time.

Since Obama has inherited Bush's problems, now HE is stuck with the joke.

It is funny, however, and right now, anything that makes us laugh is a good thing. Even Obama would understand this.

Anonymous said...

First told about Bush? What are you talking about?

Some people look for any opportunity to bash Bush and will even lie to make sure it happens.

The Brazilian joke has been around long before even Bush the Senior was president.

Obama is creating his own problems. He needs to stop worrying about one's he may have inherited from Bush.

Anonymous said...

Please read and comment on my two recent posts. said...

Watching History,

I read your posts. You do a good job on the historical perspective. As I said, you sometimes miss when you seek to represent what I believe, but that's ok. Honestly, I have too much to keep up with to enter into dialogue on issues I do not deem important, and the extent of the atonement is a tertiary issue to me - in the sense that you and I both believe God saves sinners through Jesus Christ - and whether His atonement for sin is infinite or limited to the elect is a matter I consign to tertiary issues of the faith and would never divide in fellowship when there is disagreement.

Anonymous said...

These are tough times!

I have no confidence that anyone in DC (especially the new President) knows what they are doing.

I was hopeful that Obama would lead, but every time I see him on TV etc. he looks less and less certain and younger and younger.

It's not like we had a great choice anyway. But I certainly have lost a lot of confidence in the new administration on fiscal matters.

So far, the best statements in the Senate have come from Bob Corker (relatively new senator from Tennessee), Kent Conrad and Robert Byrd (couldn't believe it. He said something worth hearing, in between naps).

In the house, there is a young congressman from Wisconsin (the name escapes me) who seems to be making sense.


Anonymous said...

Oh, but thankfully, the new President and his strategists are focusing a great deal of time and effort on confronting one of America's most dangerous problems -

Rush Limbaugh.


Steve said...

Hey, I got yer big-time investment right here! Guar-an-teed to pay off BIG!

P.S.: People actually bother to read Paul Krugman, the Enron consultant?

Ramesh said...

Wiki: Paul Krugman

Krugman was one of many economists to serve as a consultant for an advisory board for Enron; he did this in 1999, being paid $37,500[55] before New York Times rules required him to resign when he accepted an offer to be an op-ed columnist in the fall of 1999. He stated later the consulting was to offer "Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues," and that it had required him to "spend four days in Houston."[55]
When the story of Enron's corporate scandals broke, critics[who?] accused him of having a conflict of interest and the job of having been a bribe to control media coverage, charges he denies forcefully, referring to it as "a game of gotcha" and "tabloid journalism." He states that the payment from Enron did not "cause me to write anything I would not have written otherwise." For one thing, he says, he was not a journalist at the time: "when Enron approached me there was no hint that a Times connection lay in my future. As soon as I shook hands with the Times, I resigned from that board." Further, his "normal fee for a one-hour business speech in Boston or New York was $20,000 - more if the speech involved long-distance travel. The Enron board required that I spend 4 days in Houston"; thus the sum involved was not large, in his view. He says that in columns written before and after the scandal, he disclosed his past Enron relationship when he wrote about the company.[55][56] He was critical of the company: he was one of the first writers to argue that deregulation of the California energy market had led to market-manipulation by energy companies (in a column in the New York Times on December 10, 2000 called "California Screaming"); Enron was the largest in this market - "I have been criticizing Enron since January 2001, long before everyone else started bashing the company."[57]
He writes in The Great Unraveling that:
I was no more perceptive than anyone else; during the bull market years [of the late 1990s] some people did send me letters claiming that major corporations were cooking their books, but - to my great regret - I ignored them. However, when Enron - the most celebrated company of its time, lauded as the very model of a modern business enterprise - blew up, I immediately saw the implications: if such a famous and celebrated company could have been a Ponzi scheme, it was very unlikely that the rest of U.S. business was squeaky clean. In fact, it quickly became clear, the bubble years were both the cause and effect of an epidemic of corporate malfeasance. (p. 26)

Anonymous said...

Thy Peace,
I notice you like to use Wikipedia/Wikimedia.
Although I like the fact that they use Ubuntu...

They are very biased politically; especially concerning Obama.

Notice : It is obvious that sometimes people are not reading the posted links.
One thing I really appreciate about Debbie Kaufman is that she always reads the argument. We almost never agree but at least she reads the information!

Thy Peace ...this last part was not directed at you.

Christiane said...


Here are some practical ideas.
I have tried them all and have been very pleased with the results.
AND, my advice, for what it's worth, is FREE. :)

1. Stay out of book stores and
art galleries (too tempting)
and to museums instead)

2. Garage sales ( shop at them,
OR have a garage sale,
do this with your neighbors.
This is a great money-saver.

3. Get over it: thrift shops are
great. You can find the best
things there, if you will go
on a regular basis AND take
some time to look.
(Example: I found a Queen
Anne secretary desk which,
I am told, is a very fine
piece of furniture. It is
BEAUTIFUL and cost me less
than a hundred dollars,
PLUS the money went for a
hospital charity that runs
the thrift shop.)

using dried peas and beans
and assorted rices.
Get out of those fast-food
places and COOK. You will
save a fortune, lose weight,
lower your blood pressure,
and feel better.

do it, even if you have
never done it before.

6. Buy produce out at farm
stands. Or PICK YOUR OWN
at farms that allow people
to come in and do this for
a very reasonable cost.
Bring the kids. THIS is
a real education for them.

7. Go to the dairy.

8. Stay out of the MALL. Ladies
in cities that have a
consignment shop run by the
Junior League: check it out
for very nice things for

9. Don't buy flower bouquets.
Plant flowers instead.

10. Don't BUY a pet. The
shelters are full. Go
and 'rescue' an animal.
God will smile.

Hey MOMS: Think about it. What is really financially important? Your kids need good schools, good shoes, good food, good doctors and dentists.
EVERYTHING ELSE you can get from the Salvation Army or the Public Library. Case closed. :)

Reality Check: life's tough, economy's down, we are tougher and we are resourceful. Smile, we will get through this. Take care of the one's who cannot care for themselves. Give them what they need. Your credit will be good with God and He will care for you in return. Give thanks always and share His blessings: no one ever got poor by giving to those in need. L's

Anonymous said...

Hi L,s
I liked your list...Nice ideas for good stewardship.
Here is another big way that you are using this very moment! Free software

or specifically the operating system I use
obtainable for gratis.

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Christiane said...

it' me L's

Thank you, thank you for the goodies. My daughter is coming over on Sunday and she can help me sort all this out.

Very kind of you to share with me.
I hope others can use this info, too. Love, L's

WatchingHISstory said...


" in the sense that you and I both believe God saves sinners through Jesus Christ."

True however I would expect to hear a non-Calvinist say that the extent of the atonement is tertiary, naturally believing in the cooperation of man in saving grace.

As a Calvinist it is not of a third rank importance or value but is tied to the sovereignty of God and the effectiveness and efficiency of the Word of God. What good is divinity and resurrection if we diminish the extent of the atonement. If we are embarrassed by Calvinistic views that limit the will of man, and feel that we can accomodate the enemies of God by sabotaging the truth of the word of God we are in trouble.

Anonymous said...

tertiary - If I were Catholic I would be reduced to a lay person behind priest, men, contemplating nuns and thirdly lay women.

my view of the atonement is tertiary! Here I sit all broken hearted, the bottom rung of a long lost blogpost, forgotten!

Pray tell, Wade, what is primary?
What in your opinion has the status of priest and men? Is it getting the message of repentance to everyman woman boy and girl?

1.) Has God ever offered eternal life to anyone to be accepted or rejected?

2.) Will anyone for whom Christ died suffer eternal destruction in torment?

3.) Has God left the eternal destiny of any of the redeemed in the hands of men or agency of man?

My Bible says no to all three yet it is a mere tertiary issue!