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Sunday, March 8, 2009

What does one trillion dollars look like?

The full set of comparisons and calculations in hundred dollar bill stacks are here. Keep your eye on the little guy (in this picture) in the lower left, as you work your way up to one trillion dollars:

(h/t Mr. Mike)


  1. For a more real world example - here's what a pallet of 100 dollar bills looks like up close.

  2. Yes, if they did that several hundred times over, they still wouldn't reach the trillions of dollars Obama wants to throw away on unneeded and wasteful projects, on expansion of welfare, on nationalization of healthcare and education, and as payback for the unions that spent hundreds of millions of dollars to get Obama elected. And the Guardian article linked doesn't follow throught the story, which was that there was a lack of control over cash sent to Iraq, much of which was money seized from Saddam Hussein. No excuse not to keep track of all cash, but that doesn't mean the cash was "lost" as the article implies. Arguing that missing cash in Iraq justifies wasting trillions of dollars in the pending budget is a really strong argument, not.

  3. Pretty scary, I agree.

    If you do the algebra, one trillion dollars in $100 bills comes to a cube 73 feet, 7 inches on a side (or 22.44 meters, if you prefer).

    Put differently: imagine a cubical shipping crate, suitable for an ocean liner, 70 feet on a side. You could fit a crowd of over a thousand people in there, just standing, two to the square yard, with 60-plus feet of overhead.

    That still wouldn't be enough to hold one trillion dollars. Tell that to your congressman.

    (Unless, of course, the one trillion dollars was in the form of a single blank check. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what it is.)

    Daniel in Brookline