Here’s a perspective:

Have you ever thought about what one TRILLION of anything looks like? One trillion dollars? Government likes to throw these figures around – million, billion, trillion and promote so-called “stimulus packages” and “bailouts”. But, really, what does it all mean?

Let’s put some scale to it and see exactly what a trillion dollars might looks like. We’ll start with a $100 dollar bill. Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. A C-note, a Benjamin… [$100]

A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2″ thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun. [$10,000]

Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it. [$1,000,000] 

While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet… [$100,000,000]

And $1 BILLION dollars… it takes ten standard size pallets…. now we’re really getting somewhere and still seems managable… [$1,000,000,000]

Next we’ll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we’ve been hearing so much about. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it’s a million million. It’s a thousand billion. It’s a one followed by 12 zeros. [$1,000,000,000,000]

You ready for this?

It’s pretty surprising.

Here it is…

 $1 trillion dollars…

(And notice those pallets are double stacked!)

So the next time you hear someone toss around the phrase “trillion dollars”… that’s what they’re talking about. Math and Statistics people often complain the general public doesn’t understand numbers. Fair enough, but It’s not really an easy concept unless you see it in action. Hope this illustration has shed some light on orders of magnitude. There’s a big difference in powers of 10 when numbers get large – 10^6 (million) to 10^9 (billion) to 10^12 (trillion). See one of my earlier blogs “What is a Living Thing” for a different perspective on this.

Just printing this amount of money would take a while, but the time it will take to pay it back with interest is immense! This is a really BIG deal!!