Numbed by the Numbers…

Johnny-on-the-Spot … by John Foster

While politicians in Washington D.C. wrangle with the national debt limit or debt ceiling, please remember this; the money they’re squabbling over is your money and my money.

I fear most times, if folks even listen half-heartedly to debate on spending plans and budgets, they are oblivious to the fact that the money being discussed ultimately belongs to us.

Years ago, I went ballistic when I saw a sign in a road construction zone that proudly proclaimed your federal highway monies at work.

The word “federal” is not needed.

There is no federal money if I don’t provide it.

It’s something called “taxes”.

It’s my money.

It’s your money.

Recent wranglings have been over what to do regarding the debt ceiling and proposed spending packages.

But then again, that’s usually what Washington usually wrangles over.

What REALLY bothers me is the numbers that are being mentioned.

For the most part, we Americans have no clue how much money is being discussed.

Politicians and newscasters alike say “trillions” and “billions” as though they were just random, meaningless figures.

The words are uttered and they bounce off our ears with little thought or appreciation for how much that is.

Many years ago, I found a $20 bill blowing down the road on a bike ride in the country.

In those days, $20 might as well have been $1,000.

My mind was awash with ALL the things I could buy with $20.

I went to the back pages of the comic books where the x-ray specks, sea monkeys and magic cards were advertised.

I cannot even begin to imagine what a Powerball Lottery win might do for my financial status.

Yet I’m amazed at how many times we hear of lotto winners penniless and in debt within years of a big pay day.

But the real “powerball” is when you seriously consider the size of the numbers being discussed in our nation’s capital.

Our current national debt is $28.43 TRILLION.

A trillion is one thousand billions.

A billion is 1,000 millions.

A trillion is a number followed by 12 zeroes.

If you spent $1 a second, you’d spend $86,400 in one day.

That computes to $31,500,000 in a year.

So, it would take you more than 32,000 years to spend just 1 trillion dollars..

Our national debt is 28 and 1/2 times greater than that.

So let’s up the spending to $100 per second.

That’s $8,460.000 per day.

In one year, we would spend $,3,087,900,000 in one year.

Almost $3.1 billion!

Even by spending $100 a second, it will take you almost 324 years to spend one trillion dollars.

The national debt is $28.43 trillion.

Want more examples of how much one trillion is?

It would buy you almost 42 million new cars.

Now, would they have all the needed computer chips so they could be driven?

Probably not.

How about 1.33 trillion candy bars?

(Snickers anyone?)

One trillion dollars would provide you about $6.2 billion a month…for life.

Invested in a certificate of deposit, one trillion dollars would give you $12.9 billion in interest.

With a trillion dollars, you could spend one million dollars a day for roughly, 2,700 years.

And that’s just one trillion.

Our national debt is about 28.5 times that amount.

If you could buy Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins for $1 billion, that means you could have 1,000 of those teams for a trillion bucks.

If you go back in time one trillion seconds, it’s 30,000 BC.

That’s older than Fred Flintstone!

Still not convinced a trillion of anything isn’t a lot?

A trillion $1 bills would weigh 2.2 billion pounds.

That’s more than 1 million tons.

Placed end-to-end, those dollar bills would stretch 97,000,000 miles.

Earth is 93 million miles from the sun.

So, let’s stack a trillion dollar bills on top of one another.

That would stand 67,866 miles high.

That would get you about one-fourth of the way to the moon.

“Ah, Mission Control, I think we have a problem.”

Again, remember, these comparison examples are just for $1 trillion, not the $28.4 trillion that comprises our national debt.

About 78% of national debt is publicly held. Foreign governments hold about 1/2 of that public debt.

The remainder is held by U.S. banks and investors, the Federal Reserve, state and local governments, mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies and savings bonds.

So while we’re stacking just one trillion dollar bills to get one-fourth of the way to the moon or placing those same one trillion dollar bills end-to-end to go from the Earth to past the sun by 4 million miles, what’s the point I’m trying to make?

If our elected officials in Washington can’t make ends meet with all those trillions of dollars we discussed, something needs to be done.

If I hired someone in the “real world” to manage the money I gave him and I found out I might not be doing so well, what would I do?

I’d find a new money manager.

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