Our country is currently $16,000,000,000,000 ($16 trillion) in debt. Trying to conceptualize how much a trillion is can be somewhat difficult. Here are some fun ways to understand just how much a trillion is.
Since the Birth of Christ – 0 AD
2012 years x 365.25* days = 734,883 days since the birth of Christ
734,883 days plus 259 days as of September 15, 2012 = 735,142 days since the birth of Christ
735,142 days x 24 hours = 17,643,408 hours since the birth of Christ
17,643,408 hours x 60 minutes = 1,058,604,480 minutes since the birth of Christ
1,058,604,480 minutes x 60 seconds = 63,516,268,800 seconds since the birth of Christ
There hasn’t even been a trillion seconds since the birth of Christ.
If we spent $1 for every second that has occurred since the birth of Christ, we have only spent $63,516,268,800. Now, let’s use the $16 trillion our country is in debt and see how that factors.
$251.91 is spent every second.
$15,114.59 is spent every minute.
$906,875.25 is spent every hour.
$21,765,005.95 is spent every 24 hours or every day.
* The .25 accounts for leap years
Using a Dollar Bill
Another fun way to understand a trillion and our nations $16 trillion dollars of debt is to look at the distance between Los Angeles, California, and New York, New York. There are 2,452 miles between Los Angeles, CA, and New York, NY.
2,452 miles x 5,280 feet = 12,946,560 feet
12,946,560 feet x 12 inches = 155,358,720 inches
A dollar bill is 6 inches in length. When taking 155,358,720 inches and dividing it by 6 inches, we get 25,893,120 dollar bills. It takes 25,893,120 dollar bills laid end to end to go from Los Angeles, CA, to New York, NY. That is nowhere near a trillion!
So, if a person has $16 trillion one-dollar bills, how many times could they go back and forth from Los Angeles, CA, to New York, NY? 617,925 times.
We hear these numbers of how much debt our country is in and how much is continuing to be spent and we don’t really understand the magnitude of them. As you can see, if a person spent $1 for every second since the birth of Christ, they haven’t spent anywhere near 16 trillion. Additionally, a person could travel from Los Angeles, CA, to New York, NY, or the other way, 617,925 times if they laid down 16 trillion one-dollar bills end to end. Or, in other words, if a person took one trip from LA to New York every day of the year, they could do so for 1,692 years! The average life span of a person is 76 years.
Hopefully, these fun ways of looking at how much a trillion is has helped you understand the severity of our country’s spending and debt. It certainly helped me once I broke it down.