What does a Trillion Dollars look like

by Ted on April 28, 2010

When I was a kid a million dollars was a hell of a lot of money. Our high school cost about 3 million.

Now a fighter jet costs $500 million and more.
Executives of large companies and investment bankers earn at least $5,000,000 each year and many houses are worth $1,000,000 and more.

And then there is the US financial bail out and people are tossing the word TRILLION around. What actually does a TRILLION mean? It is hard to comprehend.

Here is a visual example of what a Trillion means using US $100 dollar bills. You know the bill favoured by the drug barons and others that want to keep their savings in real live money, in the garage, under the bed, under the carrots in the garden.

So, let us pretend that we are responsible for gathering up a TRILLION dollars so the US government, the FED, can give this money to those that want it, need it, demand it so that the world economy keeps humming.

You gather a TRILLION dollars in $100 US dollar bills and get your friends to organize them.

Count 100 bills and place them in a stack and bind them with a paper strip to keep them together. Let’s call this a STACK. Each STACK is worth $10,000. This is about the average wage of some professionals. This is about 5 times the wage of low wage earners.

Now organize these stacks on the floor 10 wide and 10 long.
Let’s call these SLABS.
Now each SLAB is $1,000,000 or $1 million.

I just measured a US $1 dollar bill and found that it is 6 inches long by 2.5 in wide.
So the SLAB is 60 inches or 5 feet long by 25 inches wide.

Lets us consider this SLAB to be a segment of a narrow sidewalk.
The depth is about right, about 3 or 4 inches.
The width is about right, about 2 feet.
The length is about right, 5 feet.

Now imagine a sidewalk made of these Million dollar SLABS.
A BILLION dollar sidewalk would have 1,000 SLABS of $1 MILLION each.
This sidewalk would be 5,000 feet long or just short of 1 mile long
(If you think in metric then you can do the conversion easily)
You could easily walk, run, or crawl this distance.

TRILLION dollar sidewalk would have 1,000,000 SLABS of $1 MILLION each.
This sidewalk would be 5,000,000 feet long or just about 947 miles long

So lets just round this up to 1,000.
Can you imagine walking on this sidewalk of US $100 bills for 1,000 miles.

Now that is my view of a TRILLION DOLLARS

If this was done with the lowly $1 bill then the length would be about 95,000 miles long.

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