With our national debt passing the $20 trillion threshold this week, let’s look at some figures that will help us wrap our mind around this unfathomable amount of money.
To make 20 trillion one dollar bills, it would require commandeering every cotton field in the United States for 19 years (the dollar is actually 75 percent cotton) and 30 years for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to stamp out the notes. The price tag for printing this vast quantity of bills would cost taxpayers another $2 trillion.
Our mountain of 20 trillion George Washingtons would weigh in at a whopping 22 million tons, which just might actually be enough – with a hat tip to Congressman Hank Johnson – to tip over the island of Guam. Chicago’s 108-story Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, weighs about 222,500 tons, so it would take 99 such skyscrapers to equal the weight of our national debt. Guam would have an incredible skyline, which we could easily afford to build when you consider that, adjusting for inflation, $20 trillion would buy 21,000 Willis Towers.
To ship all that money across the Pacific, it would require 758,000 semi trucks and 75 trips with the world’s largest cargo ship. But where would we store it? The world’s largest building – by volume – is the 97-acre Boeing Factory in Everett, Wash., where the aircraft manufacturer assembles airliners like the 747 “Jumbo Jet.” If you were to neatly stack one-dollar bills – without pallets – in every available square inch of the monstrous facility, Boeing would still have to build a second factory to store the rest.
A stack of 20 trillion one dollar bills, if you could somehow keep Congress from snatching it, would reach an incredible 1,357,300 miles into space. Considering that the moon is only 238,855 miles away, you could place five stacks of one dollar bills between Earth and the moon and still have enough bills left to reach over halfway on a sixth stack.
A line of 20 trillion one dollar bills placed end to end would extend 2.3 trillion miles, which would go around the world 93 million times. If astronauts could place the bills in a line into space, it would take light nearly five months to travel that distance.
From Mark Steyn’s column “Dependence Day” (emphasis mine):
According to the [Congressional Budget Office]’s 2010 long-term budget outlook, by 2020 the U.S. government will be paying between 15 and 20 percent of its revenues in debt interest—whereas defense spending will be down to between 14 and 16 percent. America will be spending more on debt interest than China, Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Spain, Turkey, and Israel spend on their militaries combined. The superpower will have advanced from a nation of aircraft carriers to a nation of debt carriers.
Now I am not saying that high defense spending is always good – it all depends on how you are spending that money – but that’s another topic entirely. The fact that our debt, which as of this post is over $14 trillion (according to defeatthedebt.com and usdebtclock.org), is this high in my estimation poses a far greater threat to the United States security than al Qaeda and their Islamist allies.
To put it another way, our debt is more than the total economies of China, the United Kingdom, and Australia combined. I find this unacceptable, but does Washington? We shall see just how different this Congress is from the last one.
Also states that our debt began sharply increasing in 2006. Wasn’t that when our beloved Democrats took over both houses of Congress?
At some point we must begin to ask ourselves – what is treason? The federal government has done more damage to this country than if the Soviet Union had invaded during the Cold War. Now if we captured members of the Red Army, there would be military tribunals and they would be shot. I am NOT advocating such treatment for our elected officials, however, we should realize the gravity of the situation they have placed us in with their lust for power.
Is the destruction of our republic somehow more palatable if it is perpetrated by domestic enemies rather than foreign ones?
On Friday afternoon with no media present, President Barack Obama signed a bill which raises our public debt from $12 .394 trillion to $14.294 trillion.
That is an incredible amount of money, but do Americans even grasp how much money $1 trillion (1,000,000,000,000) is, let alone more than 14 trillion?
A million seconds ago, it was only twelve days ago. But a trillion seconds ago – it was 29678 B.C.. Woolly mammoths still roamed the earth, and the Great Lakes won’t be formed for another 20,000 years. Scientists estimate that there aren’t even one trillion stars in our galaxy (only 200 to 400 billion). Lined up end to end, one trillion dollar bills would circle the earth an incredible 380 times.
But our debt has already surpassed $12 trillion. That’s 13 million tons of one-dollar bills. In order to haul off all that cash, you would need more than 100,000 semi trucks. If we laid $12 trillion one-dollar bills side-by-side and end-to-end, we could pave all U.S. highways, streets, and county roads more than twice.
The website Defeat the Debt provides figures like those that put debt levels in understandable perspectives.
If I spent $1 billion a day, it would take just under 34 years of spending to reach the level of our national debt. Yet our federal government takes in trillions of dollars in revenue each year, and they still managed to run up a deficit this massive.
Our national debt wasn’t always so spectacular: only in 1982 did government break the $1 trillion mark. By 1990, the debt was $3.2 trillion. By 2000, it was $5.6. On Sept. 30, 2008, White House documents show that our public debt was $9.9 trillion. But in a matter of just a few months under the Obama administration, our debt has climbed by three trillion dollars. Bear in mind that it took over 200 years for the U.S. to accumulate one trillion dollars of debt. During that time we paid for one revolution, the Louisiana Purchase, a civil war, two world wars, the Great Depression, the Marshall Plan, numerous other conflicts, the space program, and so on. But in a matter of months, our federal government – despite trillions of dollars in tax revenue each year – has accumulated almost three trillion more?
And all of this money being spent by government will have to be paid back by the American taxpayer. According to USDebtClock.org, as this column went to press, the current share for each taxpayer was over $113,000. The bill signed on Friday by Obama states that any new spending must be paid for either through spending cuts or tax hikes. And which do you think the Obama administration and Congress will choose?
Our society simply cannot endure federal spending of this magnitude. Rather than argue over which political party or administration is to blame, we must work together to reverse this trend immediately, before it’s too late.
As I write this, the U.S. national debt is 12,385,926,000 and counting. And when watching the debt clock, the millions digit goes about as fast as the dollar when you are pumping gas.
So in order to understand how much a trillion actually is – let alone 12 trillion – let’s put this into perspective.
Having done all the calculations myself, I then came across DefeatTheDebt.com, an amazing website that had apparently already done all the work far better than I could. And for my fellow critical thinkers, you can even verify their findings.
But it took from George Washington to Ronald Reagan before our debt reached $1 trillion. Now it’s over $12. Our society won’t last long if our politicians keep spending money that we don’t really have.
Of all the incredible things they put up, what really gets me is that if I spent $10 million dollars a DAY, it would still take me 273 YEARS to spend one trillion dollars. And that’s without a few trillion dollars of revenue coming in each year. Knowing that, how in the hell has Congress managed to spend $12 trillion dollars more than what taxpayers already give them???