"A nation can survive its fools, even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves against those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear." ... Roman statesman and political theorist Marcus Tullius Cicero

Friday, March 25, 2011

Putting million, billion and trillion in perspective

Million, billion, trillion -- which equals five seconds of time at the U.S. Treasury? Don’t know? Well join the millions in the United States, or the billions of people worldwide who don’t know either.

The enormity of our $14 trillion national debt is so huge we have lost sight of the ramifications of owing all those “zeros” to foreign interests. The numbers in dollars slide much too easily into conversation about the country’s debt, especially for politicians who glibly toss around those “illions” like pocket change.

Let’s put millions, billions and now trillions in perspective.

A total of 5.3 billion troy ounces of gold have been mined in recorded human history, as of 2009. At the approximate price of gold ($1,000 an ounce) in Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs), the actual value of that precious commodity, of all that gold in today’s dollars is $5.30 trillion. So, how do we plan on paying off a debt of $14 trillion? With so little gold in existence, the only thing I can see that would pay off the debt is if our creditors seized all the land in America and forced Americans into some form of slave labor.

What's the difference between a million, a billion, a trillion? A million dollars is 10,000 $100 bills. A billion dollars is 10 million $100 bills. A trillion dollars is 10,000 billion $100 bills.
A million seconds is 13 days.
A billion seconds is 31 years.
A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.
A billion is 1,000 million.
There are one thousand billions in a trillion
There are 1 million millions in a trillion

A trillion dollars is so large a number that only politicians can use the term in conversation... probably because they seldom think about what they are really saying.

Here is some perspective on TRILLION.
Trillion = 1,000,000,000,000, or a 1 followed by 12 zeros.

The country has not existed for a trillion seconds. In fact, Western civilization has not been around a trillion seconds. One trillion seconds – 31,688 years ago – Neanderthals (if you believe in evolution) stalked the plains of Europe.

A million minutes ago was 1 year, 329 days, 10 hours and 40 minutes ago.
A million hours ago was in 1885.
A billion hours ago man had not yet walked on earth.
5 billion years ago (according to “big bang” theorists) the universe was formed.
1 trillion years ago - forget about it.

A million dollars was five (5) seconds ago at the U.S. Treasury.
A billion dollars was late yesterday afternoon at the U.S. Treasury.
A trillion dollars was last month in Washington.

We can only hope no-one tells Obama and Congress what comes after trillion. The known universe isn’t large enough to hold the number.



  1. Ignore the rant, I'm not even going to begin to tell you what's wrong with the economic or biological outlooks. Oh, and here's where oldtimer stole his numbers from:


    1. And yes, it's an old post, but it was the top Google search. And yes, I WILL NOT monitor for replies.