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What Does A Trillion Dollars Really Mean & Why You Should Care

What is a trillion dollars? These days the “t word” gets thrown around a lot, but do people really understand what it means? The simple answer is that one trillion is a one followed by twelve zeros. It's a million million. It's a thousand billion. A dollar bill is about 6 inches long. The earth is about 93 million miles from the sun.

A trillion dollar bills laid end-to-end would stretch further than the distance from the Earth to the Sun. If you spent $1 million a day – every day – since Jesus was born, you still would not have spent a trillion by now. After 2012 years of spending $1 million a day, you would've spent a little over $734 Billion. The U.S. debt, at noon on October 19, 2012, stood at $16,188,189,000,000. That means that each U.S. citizen owes about $51,456.

Lets start off with something everyone, or almost everyone, is familiar with. This is a picture of a single $100 Federal Reserve Note:

Next let's take a look at what one hundred hundred dollar bills looks like (Ten Thousand):

I know what you're thinking, not very impressive; show me what a million dollars looks like:

Not as big as you had thought, right? Yet, this is 92 years of work for the average human on this planet.

Okay, now we're getting to the good stuff. What does 100 million dollars in 100-dollar Federal Reserve notes look like?

Now we are getting somewhere. The couch alone is worth $46.7 million.

Next let's take a look at what One Billion Dollars looks like. Remember, these are all $100 dollar bills:

$1,000,000,000 – You will need some help when robbing the bank. $1 million dollars weights 10kg exactly. You are looking at 10 tons of money on those pallets, about the same weight as two full grown Elephants.

We have all been familiar with a million and a billion before, but what about this new number we all keep hearing about? What does $1 trillion dollars in $100-dollar bills look like?

I am not trying to push any policy, nor am I trying to make a joke about the seriousness of our debt. What I am trying to do is to put into perspective how big of a number $1 trillion is. Even though our debt is over $16 trillion dollars, people seem to think that is normal. Well, it is not.

Whether you like or hate Obama is irrelevant. This President has added over a Trillion dollars to the debt every year he has been in office. His solution to our current economic crisis seems to be to throw more money at it until we fix it. The only problem with that is that in order for the government to throw more money at the problem, it has to create more money.

The government must first print bonds and sell them to the Federal Reserve in exchange for Federal Reserve Notes (A.K.A. U.S. Dollars). Of course there is no such thing as free money, so the government, in turn, must pay the Fed back with interest.

The bigger the debt, the more US citizens must pay in taxes to help the government pay back the Federal Reserve. Without the Gold Standard to back our paper dollars, the Federal Reserve has the power to print unlimited amounts of its fiat currency.

The Obama Administration has stated that, “[This] spending was necessary to pull the economy out of recession.” The question that I want you to ask yourself is, “Has this worked?”  While nearly 23 million Americans are looking for work unsuccessfully, and the cost of living at record highs, how have Obama's policy really helped the middle class? Economists generally consider deficits exceeding 3.0 percent of GDP to be unsustainable in the long run. We are past that.

The current administration has no idea, nor does it seem to care how to deal with the debt crisis. Both parties continue to ignore the importance, and potential catastrophic consequences, of not taking steps to deal with the looming debt crisis.

Regardless of which side you support, I urge you to consider a world where America is not the world leader. Not a pretty picture? That is why I believe that this is the biggest issue facing our great nation today. If the world loses faith in American currency,  America's economic dominance in the world would be over.

Don't start stocking up on canned food yet though, there is still time to fix our debt. If our government continues spending the way that it is, the debt will be well over $22 Trillion in the year 2016. At that time, it might be too late. Not too long ago, America was a global role model.

I want to go back to that, and I think that the first step is being responsible with our money. These are tough times, but America has proven, time and time again, that we are capable of tackling any challenge that is put in front of us.

So, I leave you with this, a picture of what the current U.S. Debt looks like in $100-dollar bills, hoping that it will give you a different perspective the economic issues fueling this election.

Nguyen Rodriguez | Elite.

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Nguyen Rodriguez

Contributor

Nguyen is a student at Cardozo School of Law. He attended Lebow College of Business at Drexel University, and graduated with a dual-concentration major in International Business and Legal Studies. He is a political junkie and commentator. He is ...
Nguyen is a student at Cardozo School of Law. He attended Lebow College of Business at Drexel University, and graduated with a dual-concentration major in International Business and Legal Studies. He is a political junkie and commentator. He is ...

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