How much is 1,000,000,000,000?

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By The Staff

Geoff Davis

U.S. Representative

On April 2, Speaker Nancy Pelosi succeeded in passing her federal budget that outlines more than $3.5 trillion in spending for fiscal year 2010.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projected a $1.8 trillion deficit for the current fiscal year, and that does not include the stimulus bill that will cost Americans more than $1 trillion, which was signed into law by the President on Feb. 1.  As of April 7, the U.S. national debt stands at more than $11 trillion.

The sheer magnitude of Speaker Pelosi’s spending spree is mind boggling. Most of us do not use the number one trillion in our daily lives, so it is difficult to attach tangible value to the figure.  However, as Congress and the Administration continues spending your tax dollars trillions of dollars at a time, it is worthwhile to have a discussion about what these numbers really mean.

One of the simplest ways to get an idea of $1 trillion is to consider the amount in terms of the passage of time.  One million seconds is equal to roughly 11 days and 12 hours, and one billion seconds is 32 years.  One trillion seconds equals 32,000 years.  

If you spent $1 million every minute of every day, it would take you nearly two years to spend one trillion dollars.  Apparently, that’s not fast enough for Speaker Pelosi.  Under her budget, the government plans to spend $6.7 million every minute during the next fiscal year alone.

There are 4.24 million people living in Kentucky.  Raising $1 trillion from every man, woman and child in the Commonwealth would require Kentuckians to contribute $235,849.05 each — enough to pay for four years of tuition at the University of Kentucky for yourself and 13 of your children or grandchildren.

In fact, $1 trillion could pay for the college education at a four-year public institution for every student graduating high school across America from now until 2018.  It could pay the rent of every renter in the nation for three years, or the mortgage of every homeowner for fourteen months.  It is even enough money to purchase all the homes that were foreclosed in 2007 and 2008 combined.

Speaker Pelosi’s budget projects deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year for five years.  By fiscal year 2014, her budget predicts the national debt will exceed $17 trillion.  The American people know that we cannot spend our way to prosperity.  The attempt will saddle our children and grandchildren with mountains of debt.  At a time when virtually every American is tightening their budgets, Congress should show some restraint.  I remain committed to restoring fiscal sanity in Washington, and I hope President Obama and my colleagues in Congress can work together to put an end to unreasonable federal spending.