What does one trillion dollars mean to you?

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A trillion is, in some sense, a meaningless number.  Perhaps this is a problem with inflation in both our currency and the size of our government--the spending figures are now beyond any normal person's imagining.  In the comments to another thread, two readers try to put some emotional weight to these hefty numbers.



Wiredog says:

A couple years ago someone asked me, as an aid to visualizing the budget, how many transport flights it would take to move $1T worth of $100 bills.

So $1T is 10B $100 bills. 

10B grams is 10M kg

120,000 kg is the capacity of the C5 Galaxy aircraft. So it would take 84 flights to move $1T in $100 bills.

The Galaxy C5 is (she said with stunning understatement), not a small aircraft:

galaxy.jpg

Meanwhile, Colonel Sanders notes:

Imagine you're given $1T on the day Jesus Christ was allegedly crucified.

You spend $1M per day, every day, 365 days a year without stopping for any reason.

As of today, you would still need around 700 years to be completely out of money.

Don't worry, though--I assume when you do run out, there will be a government program to top up your funds.
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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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