March 6, 2010

$9.8 trillion.

$9.8 trillion. I'm sorry. I have nothing to say. The number is utterly incomprehensible. If you think it is not, I'm going to assume it is because your brain has less, not more, capacity than mine. Please don't stumble embarrassingly over yourself trying to prove otherwise.

106 comments:

AprilApple said...

Somehow all this spending by Democrats is the fault of George W Bush.

AllenS said...

Instead, Obama has created an 18-member fiscal reform commission that's charged with coming up with a plan ...

In other words, Obama will do absolutely nothing, but blame Republicans and that guy Bush.

kentuckyliz said...

I was trying to remember how many zeroes a trillion is. We throw these words around, and we think that a billion is a little more than a million, and a trillion is a little more than a billion.

A trillion is a 1 with twelve zeroes behind it.

1,000,000,000,000

So, 9.8 trillion is

9,800,000,000,000

And to look at what 1 trillion dollars looks like in hundred dollar bills, go here.

Fire up the printing presses!

Call the Chinese!

Apologize to your future great grandchildren.

It's just effin' sickening.

I wish we had recall elections just about now. Where can I register my vote of no confidence?

All con.
No confidence.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I think the number will be higher. There will be "emergencies" and "unforeseen circumstances". Plus, there's the dead-weight loss from the new energy taxes he's proposing and the forced spending on health insurance, that are bound to dramatically shrink the economy.

kentuckyliz said...

The ocmmission is to pretend there's bi-partisan support for all this spending and put a patina of respectability over the mismanagement.

If you want nothing to happen with a hot issue, in Washington, start a commission to study it.

traditionalguy said...

But wait...Once all those "Dollar" units are worth less than one third of their current value, then it is only $3.3 trillion in actual value being thrown around. However we will have to grow our own food because the Grocery Stores will be memories since no one will be able to afford their prices for food.

SteveR said...

All I know is my part of that debt in incomprehensible. Since almost half of Americans pay no income tax, I think the code will be broken soon. Some not very smart people have figured it out.

traditionalguy said...
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john said...

I love big numbers! It's another opportunity to watch this great Monty Python skit! This is what Saturday mornings are made for.

Moose said...

Whew. Thank god I'm one of those evil white upper middle class people who'll get to pay for all that shit.

Shoot me now...

Joe M. said...

Yikes. That's really very frightening. What's especially sickening is that I have no faith in the Republicans to *do* anything about this once they regain control.

Almost Ali said...

There is an answer; phase out all entitlements and all incumbents.

c3 said...

About twenty times as many grains of sand in a sand volleyball court

Peter V. Bella said...

9.8 trillion? That's all? Those evil obstructionist Republicans and Conservatives are impeding the good, kind Progressive Democrats and Socialists from spending twice as much to get five times as little.

Shame on them.



wv+weavin= what Obama does when he isn't bobbin.

Sextus Empiricus said...

$9.8 trillion over 10 years = ~$3200 per person per year. That's the trick for wrapping your head around the large numbers in the federal budget.

Henry said...

Expect Democratic pundits to start complaining about the Federal Reserve now.

We will be told that (hyper)inflation is the only thing that can save us, and the undemocratic, corporate-beholden, 20th-(not 21st)-century-thinking Federal Reserve will stand in the way.

Entitlement cuts? Not a chance.

Pogo said...

No problem. Krugman won a Nobel, and he's cool with it.

We'll just print more of those pieces of paper.

What could possibly go wrong?

c3 said...

so if every man, woman and child on the Earth today paid the US government a mere $1.50 we'd have it paid for.

Unfortunately about 40% of the world's population earns $2 or less per day.

What was that phrase that Perot used:
Giant sucking sound

DADvocate said...

Oh, ye faint of heart!

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Debt
Rode the Democrats.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns' he said:
Into the valley of Debt
Rode the Democrats.

'Forward, the Obama Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldiers knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to spend and die:
Into the valley of Debt
Rode the Democrats.


Let us take inspiration.

peter hoh said...

Twenty billion here, fifty billion there. It adds up.

And I expect that Obama will provide about as much leadership on this issue as did his predecessor. That's not the same as blaming Bush. The system is messed up. Instead of addressing entitlements, we get members of the House waiting for their turn to bring an international airport to their backwater district.

rhhardin said...

It takes 14.8 seconds for a Dell laptop to count 9.8 trillion one at a time.


$ e temp.c
?temp.c
a
main() { double i=9.8e9; while(--i>0); }
.
w
41
q
$ cc -O3 temp.c
$ time a

real 0m14.831s
user 0m14.811s
sys 0m0.000s
$


The real intuitive thing to a programmer though is that it's too big for a 32-bit integer (2,147,483,647), though not for 48 bit as above.

SFC B said...

http://xkcd.com/558/

The difference between a billion and a trillion is difference between a bottle of gin and a night with your daughter and a kilo of coke and a weekend with your wife and daughter.

Oligonicella said...

Just 'cause you have trouble with math, don't mean we do. Micro, ento and other(o) biologists have worked with those numbers for years.

Marine biology: 3,500,000,000,000 - estimated population of fish in the ocean.

Entomology: 200,000,000,000,000 - The estimated number of ants on Earth.

Now, if by your caustic (better than presuming pompous) statement you meant one couldn't visualize every individual dollar (ant, fish) simultaneously - fine.

But that's not the same thing as being able to comprehend it.

vw: taxers - Those are the people who can't comprehend trillion. They just think big.

c3 said...

Hey that's just about $1.7 million per American household in the top %5 of income. That's easy...and we can probably spread it out over several easy payments.

Yeah that's the ticket

ark said...

The fact that Obama is talking about deficits of that magnitude in the same year as "fiscal responsibility" -- or even the same decade -- tells you all you need to know about him.

Turtledove said...

What is it divided by actual taxpayers over 10 years. Scary.

The Drill SGT said...

Ann, that is only part of the problem. Bush tried in 2006, but the Dem's demogogued him.

The 2008 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports show the combined unfunded liability of these two programs has reached $101.7 trillion in today's dollars! That is more than seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the outstanding national debt. The unfunded liability is the difference between the benefits that have been promised to retirees and what will be collected in dedicated taxes and Medicare premiums. Last year alone, the size of the debt rose by $11.5 trillion. If no other reform is enacted, this funding gap can only be closed in future years by substantial tax increases, large benefit cuts or both.

Richard Dolan said...

Pretty cranky this morning, it seems. Here's today's line-up:

"Please don't stumble embarrassingly over yourself ...." She knows you can't help yourself, and wants to enjoy the spectacle.

"pissily political but you might want to read it" -- if you're a jerk, that is.

"nitwits" in twitterville, following/followed by Rover and thinking that's cool.

WSJ is just playing
"teaser" behind the wall, and teasers are lowlifes who get a thrill out of proving that you can't get and don't deserve no satisfaction.

The lady's face is "80 years out of date." Gross lookism in/about the face, from a supposed feminist.

"bitch about the accuracy of the journalism of the NYT" -- bitch, bitch, bitch. It's today's theme.

So, did you have a fight with the Meadester?

themightypuck said...

If the number is incomprehensible to you, how can you know whether it is good or bad. I'd say the problem with a 9.8 trillion dollar deficit has nothing to do with the incomprehensibility of the number

Ann Althouse said...

It's not just a matter of visualizing the money in bill form or knowing how many zeroes are involved. I'm talking about really understanding how much money this is.

Theo Boehm said...
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rhhardin said...

Just think of it as the price of everything produced in the US for a year.

Since it's over ten years, it's claiming about a tenth of the economy.

edutcher said...

Jason skirted the point. There will be more 'jobs' bills - another is in the wings for $150B, I believe, and, of course, he still wants something to push gas up to $8 a gallon.

What they're trying to do is vindicate FDR after Amity Shlaes and the majority of economic historians who came in with the verdict that the New Deal made things worse instead of better. Frank just didn't spend enough, the Lefties have been saying.

If Roosevelt's memory is tarnished, then the whole Democrat Party is in jeopardy, so they're trying to prove all this spending works. Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Portugal would indicate otherwise.

AllenS said...

Instead, Obama has created an 18-member fiscal reform commission that's charged with coming up with a plan ...

Andy Stern is on it, so you know it's going to come up with some real, to-the-bone cost cutting.

Peter V. Bella said...

9.8 trillion? That's all? Those evil obstructionist Republicans and Conservatives are impeding the good, kind Progressive Democrats and Socialists from spending twice as much to get five times as little.

Yes, what happened to all the super majorities?

I know - kryptonite.

DADvocate said...

Half a league, half a league...

Very apt. And no one would understand the futility of this better than Tennyson.

wind.rider said...

So, per Oligonicella, we have more almost three times the amount of debt as there are fish in the sea.

That sounds like a problem of biblical proportion.

Which would be an understatement.

tw-crestsmy, as in crestsmy levee of amazement

rhhardin said...

You don't need all those bills.

You can spend everything with a single penny.

The story was two partners taking their barrel of lemonade to market in the desert; on the way, one got thirsty, and purchased a cup from his partner for a penny. Then the partner purchased a cup himself with the same penny. And so it continued all the way to market, with the lemonade finally exhausted by a single penny.

rcocean said...

$32,667 for every man, woman, and child in the USA>

damikesc said...

I will say that naming Andy Stern to his deficit commission shows just how darned serious Obama is about cutting the deficit. God knows how much OT we will have to pay Stern to tell us that if more employees were unionized, we would have so much revenue that we would run surpluses forever.

bagoh20 said...

And the next decade will include endless stories of how underestimated that figure turned out to be.

Long term government expenditures always exceed estimates and usually not by double or triple, but much higher.

The crazies are looking more prescient every day. Do you have a militia in your Rolodex?

Henry said...

Oligonicella wrote: Marine biology: 3,500,000,000,000 - estimated population of fish in the ocean.

So if we could just get every fish to chip three dollars, we'd be good.

Let's cast nets. Maybe one of them will grant us three wishes.

The Drill SGT said...

rcocean said...
$32,667 for every man, woman, and child in the USA


divided among the people that Obama wants to soak, the shares go up quite a bit. Those folks making $250k per family, etc

bagoh20 said...
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AJ Lynch said...

It simply means every American will owe an extra $30,000 in ten years.

Remind me again ...debt is good, savings is bad? or do I have that backwards.

bagoh20 said...
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Akiva said...

So what's the address for my local tea party again? Because clearly the regular system has exceeded it's ability to function without destroying us along the way.

Time to throw some tea in the bay.

Oligonicella said...

Henry - or a nickel from each ant.

bagoh20 said...

"$32,667 for every man, woman, and child in the USA"

Now eliminate those who will not be paying it: the 50% of earners who do not pay taxes, + the children, + the old, + the hidden. It will be more than the remainder actually produce.

Well done America! Elections have consequences and some things are not reversible.

I'm glad I have no children, for I don't know what I would say to them if I did. Oops?

Charlie Martin said...

Please don't assume your innumeracy is universal.

c3 said...

The unfunded liability is the difference between the benefits that have been promised to retirees and what will be collected in dedicated taxes and Medicare premiums.

Operative word: promised

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"I'm talking about really understanding how much money this is."

So was I. Like the ants. Which, by the way, if there were five times as many would be one quadrillion.

AJ Lynch said...

Drill Sgt said:

"The 2008 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports show the combined unfunded liability of these two programs has reached $101.7 trillion in today's dollars! That is more than seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the outstanding national debt."

There really oughta be a law that govt entities publish an audited balance sheet every year! Hell they could mail it to us every year with your annual social security statement that I got today.

Quaestor said...

Oligonicella wrote:
But that's not the same thing as being able to comprehend it.

And being able to spell a word is not the same as understanding it (or do you use spellcheck?)

kentuckyliz said...

Government doesn't care about debt-financing everything and printing more money.

Whoever gets to use the money first gets the most value of it, before inflation eats it up over time.

The government gets it first!

They trust the rest of us suckers to work hard and be inventive and generate profits on future inflated dollars to be earned to pay it off.

I swear, those people who make a living at living off government benefits are looking like the smart ones now. I feel like a sucker.

Here's my solution:

Only taxpayers get to vote, and election day is April 16.

No health care reform and cap and tax. The only thing created is death panels for the unproductive elderly parasites.

There, Medicare and Soc Sec problem solved.

WV holites
the red bulbs ACORN provides to aspiring pimp businessmen and the stolen foreign children they're turning into prostitutes. It's the "open" sign in the red light district.

Quayle said...
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Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

We'll say "thank you very much" to the Chinese and Japanese, and pay them back with whole dollars that are worth 33 cents in today's money.

We and they know it is coming, which is why the Chinese keep making noise about an alternate world currency.

And just pray that you aren't on a fixed income, like retirement, when the government starts their 'repayment program.'

When they're done, a six pack of beer will cost $10,000.

Methadras said...

It's white noise compared to passing this presidential fools agenda. It's all about the agenda. The cost is meaningless.

Flexo said...

Dividing up amongst all the people of the country helps somewhat, but try to understand it in purely individual terms --

If we were to take a typical middle-class earner making $50,000 per year, he would have to work 196,000,000 years to make $9.8 trillion.

NewHam said...

Why is everyone concerned about this number?

This is money we're borrowing no? There's absolutely no reason to think we're ever going to pay it back.

If the Chinese are stupid enough to lend us their money that's their business, isn't it?

At the appropriate moment, I will be arguing heartily that we should stiff them when the bill comes. Fuck 'em. What are they going to do? Cut off our credit? How would we buy their shit? They'd be cutting off their nose to spite their faces.

Mr. Forward said...

Round it off to an even $10 trillion, then it's easy.

edutcher said...

I can't wait until we get to the point where we have to fill up the SUV with million dollar bills (they'll have Joe's picture on them, the Billions will have Barry) to buy a loaf of bread. Then the food riots begin and the rioters, bitter clingers all, are executed by Barry's civilian national defense corpse, manned, of course, by SEIU members.

The only question is, who's going to tell us the new 'green' nutrition is made of people?

Akiva said...

So what's the address for my local tea party again? Because clearly the regular system has exceeded it's ability to function without destroying us along the way.

Time to throw some tea in the bay.


Throwing the politicians in would do more good.

LarsPorsena said...

Remember when your math teacher told way back when,that scientific notation was extremely important..and you were saying to yourself... " I'll never use this shit." ?

Guess what?

AJ Lynch said...

Althouse needs a tag for "bad news released by the Obama administration late on a Friday afternoon". It's become a pattern.

Oligonicella said...

Quaestor --

"And being able to spell a word is not the same as understanding it (or do you use spellcheck?)"

Ha! The spellchecker flags spellcheck as not a word.

Aside from throwing snarkies back and forth, what exception do you take with my post?

wv: curem - Gotta get rid of the current crop of legislators, 'cause there ain't no way to curem.

NewHam said...

"Then the food riots begin and the rioters, bitter clingers all, are executed by Barry's civilian national defense."

No, if you recall, the bitter clingers are clinging to their guns and their bibles. Their wives also know how to make preserves and they were, to a man, boy scouts whose motto is "be prepared."

SEIU thugs have lots of pinky rings and impressive beer guts that would intimidate even the heartiest protestor, but they aren't well-armed, and they tend to congregate around town-hall meetings, which are gun-free zones.

So, I think if I was a betting man, I'd be putting my money on the bitter clingers to survive apocalypse coming up the road a piece.

Fact, I'm looking forward to it.

Got my solar-powered pop-corn maker at the ready.

George Grady said...

And this is just the increase in the deficit. This is how much we would have to be taxed more than we already are in order to cover the planned spending.

Cedarford said...

"Moose said...
Whew. Thank god I'm one of those evil white upper middle class people who'll get to pay for all that shit.

Shoot me now..."

A better alternative is to get ready for the day when we shoot the people who hold the paper we have to pay off - if they are not accepting of being stiffed.

Mass immigration is transforming the US into a 3rd World craphole, so why not be like them and repudiate our debts?

To get ready for that day, we need to get our energy supplies in order, transfer all the jobs and skills we lost under Dem and Reublican Globalists and free traders and tax cuts for the rich types.

Be ready though for some serious pain and suffering even if we do stiff our creditors. And like the other reckless beggar nations, we can't stiff the creditors completely. We have to pay at least pennies on the dollar...which means those Bush tax cuts and the death tax gets repealed...since they went to or are planned to go to the boomer wastrels, Reaganite free markets and supply side economics morons, Clintonista "trade with China and China paying for all sorts of goodies is win-win!!" sort of folks..

Part of that may be allowing US citizens to trade in their dollars for new dollars, but freezing foreigner dollars and paper claims on other assets until a "reasonable bankruptcy deal and doable payback plan" can be negotiated..

Probably mean what is left of our assets abroad get seized as well, we have a Global Depression as debt is liquidated, and we end up with a less prosperous, less powerful but no longer saddled to an unaffordable debt - America.

With welfare-ended mommas forced to work in widgit factories at piecemeal rates to "feed they chilluns", 60% of estates get taxed away, Fed gov't cut in half, no more multi-millionaire doctors and nursing home operators, irate Chinese hauling away all Utah's Fed lands coal in the settlement they got, etc. The US Constitution rewritten to prevent the uncontrolled spending and control of our economy the Ruling Elites managed from a 2-Party corrupted Congress.

It will be exceptionally painful, our time of reckoning.. And aside from the Birthers, Palin-worshippers, and other nuts ---generally, it is the Tea Partiers who see what is coming.

When it is all over, the fans of the Infallibale Sacred Parchment and the various favorite presidents in the String from Carter to Obama when all the damage was done (inc. by Reagan and Clinton) will be far fewer in number..

Revenant said...
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mariner said...

If we can't understand the deficit today, I guess there's no hope of understanding what it will be next year.

David said...

It's over 180 times as much as Bill Gates $50 billion fortune.

It's $30,625 for every resident of the country if we have 320 million population.

It's $18.3 billion for each member of congress.

It costs $490 billion in interest every year at 5%. (The entire interest on all federal debt in 2008 was $149.7 billion.)

That's $1531 interest per American per year.

It's enough to pay Obama's $400,000 annual salary for 24.5 million(!!!!) years.

master cylinder said...

My God. Look what Obama has done in 14 months.

Alex said...

It's not really that relevant how big the debt gets. What's important is that the nations of the world keep buying our treasuries. They are not seriously expecting to collect their principal back(or even interest) back. Look at the national debt as a vote of confidence in the United States of America.

Flexo said...

Alex -- it matters.

Pyramid schemes are great for a while, but then, eventually the pyramid get so big that it collapses and comes crashing down. You can scam people only so much before they stop being scammed.

Alex said...

Flexo - no it doesn't matter. If the USA collapses, the world collapses. The world has a continued vested interest in propping up our economy, thus the debt is of no great consequence. What's more important is cash flow, meaning our GDP does not get affected by Obamunistic policies.

NewHam said...

Icelanders voted today on whether to pay up.

"Icelanders rejected by a massive majority a bill that would saddle each citizen with $16,400 of debt in protest at U.K. and Dutch demands that they cover losses triggered by the failure of a private bank."

93% told foreign investors to go pound sand.

People thinking about buying T-bills issued by the United States Government should consider this a warning.

We don't have to pay it back, you know.

Others aren't.

Alex said...

NewHam - diff is USA is a 1st world country, Iceland is that Scandinavian island that gave us crazy Bjork.

Eric said...

We'll say "thank you very much" to the Chinese and Japanese, and pay them back with whole dollars that are worth 33 cents in today's money.

The problem is that doesn't actually work. The US has owed so much for so long every month we have to roll over a substantial portion of that debt. Global investors (especially sovereign wealth funds and big currency traders like Soros) keep a really close eye on the money supply. When you start to print money they start to demand higher interest rates to cover future depreciation.

So the money you saved by stiffing people who already owe you goes right back out the door to people you need to borrow from.

If you persist, eventually people will no longer buy dollar debt, and it doesn't matter how many you print, since all your international business is done in Yen or Euros.

NewHam said...

Alex,

When you compare any two situations, something will always be different. The point of my post is that the citizens of a country can choose to tell foreign investors to piss off - as Icelanders are doing.

Icelanders had no say in what these bankers were doing and did not ever agree to make good on soured investments foreigners made there.

Similarly, I never agreed to pay Barack Obama's $9.8 trillion debt either. I'm not getting any of that money, and I have no intention of ever agreeing to pay it back. And I'll encourage my fellow citizens to also not agree to pay it back.

Foreign investors should think about that before they agree to loan Barack Obama any money by buying his T-bills. We don't have to pay it back ... just like Icelanders have voted not to pay it back. They should consider this before lending this money so Obama can give to his union thugs in the public-sector unions.

David said...

Alex said...

" . . . . If the USA collapses, the world collapses. . . ."

Precisely the point.

Just because it might be a bad thing does not mean other nations won't let it happen.

Flexo said...

Yes, we need to put away Obama's magic wand, thinking that we can just wish the problem away, that we can simply wave our hands and that will be enough to keep the whole overloaded structure from collapsing.

Fred4Pres said...

I remember when the debt exceeded two trillion. It was not that long ago. That was from the start of the country till then. This is really bad.

NewHam said...

"This is really bad."

Fred,

If it was "really bad" wouldn't the federal government be doing something about it?

Wouldn't there be a hiring freeze?

Wouldn't there be a wage freeze?

Wouldn't there be layoffs of non-essential personnel?

Wouldn't there be benefits cuts?

Wouldn't there be pension caps?

Wouldn't there be re-negotiations with public-employee unions?

Here's a clue: None of this has happened.

So how can it be "bad." How can we possibly be in any kind of an emergency when our elected leaders sure aren't acting like there is any kind of an emergency.

Has Congress placed a "freeze" on its own salaries, which automatically rise each year? No.

Maybe they realize we'll never be paying this money back. Maybe they have no intention of ever paying it back.

Maybe, when the bill comes due, they're going to pull a dine-and-dash.

I wouldn't buy a T-bill to wipe my ass with. Toilet paper is much, much cheaper and softer.

Michael said...
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buck smith said...

A good way to comprehend it is to calculate the per capita number. Easy to do with a calculator or spreadsheet, right? $9.8 trillion divided by 307,006,550 equals $32K per person, $128K for a family of four.

Veeshir said...

The number is utterly incomprehensible. If you think it is not, I'm going to assume it is because your brain has less, not more, capacity than mine.

Hmmmmm, some mathematicians would surely argue, but then, by definition, they're not as intelligent as you.

DWPittelli said...

"utterly incomprehensible" ?

Nonsense. It merely amounts to $32,131 for every man, woman and child in the United States (2009 estimate). Now if that doesn't sound better, I don't know what does.

Milwaukee said...

Back to Global Warming: I'll believe this is a crisis when the people who are complaining about it being a crisis start acting like it is a crisis. Obviously many in Congress and the President don't believe this is a crisis. Who said "A million dollars here, a million dollars there, and soon you're talking about real money."

In Hyper-inflation Germany, people didn't pay for their bus fare until they went to get off the bus, because the fare went up while they were riding. Ouch.

Clearly, we need smaller government, and fewer entitlements. We need to rely on people being generous to others, instead of taking their money and then providing for the needy.

Now, a google, a "1" with 100 zeroes after it, that is a really big number. A trillion is small by comparison. But how much would a person need to spend, every day, to spend $9.8 trillion dollars in their life time?

p.s. Think about moderation: I once read that Princess Anne, Charles' sister, had a 35' yacht. She's royalty, and 35' is big enough for her. Many of us in this country are guilty of ostentatious spending.

Metanis said...

I recently calculated that $1Trillion paid as if it were a mortgage loan at 4% interest and then allocated to the approximately 186 Million taxpayers would equal $33.00 a month for each of them. The 9.8Trillion deficit will cost $324.00 a month per taxpayer over and above all the existing taxes we are paying now. Of course we know that 55% of taxpayers don't actually pay any tax, so if you are productive and compensated your share is easily more than double or $648.00 per month. I could buy that green Audi I want for that much!

MrBuddwing said...

Who said "A million dollars here, a million dollars there, and soon you're talking about real money."

Sen. Everett Dirksen, but what he supposedly said was, "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money".

Word verificatin: kalies.

Boghie said...

When you borrow to cover standard living expenses, then refuse to pay the shark, bad things can happen.

It might be different if we didn't have to borrow every day to cover every day expenses. But, we apparently do.

And, soon enough the creditor will simply not loan to us. Then we have to cut expenses and initiate a payment plan. Or, the creditor will take hard assets - by maybe forcing us to finance borrowing in a hard currency.

Joy

Charlie Martin said...

Yes, yes, you're right, it's completely and utterly incomprehensible, no one could possible comprehend that number and really, truly understand it.

Flexo said...
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Brian Macker said...

Oligonicella,

"Just 'cause you have trouble with math, don't mean we do. Micro, ento and other(o) biologists have worked with those numbers for years."

Biologists, like E. O.Wilson, regularly get modern extinction rates off by three orders of magnitude. Where are all the corpses.

In both cases I think it has to do with the politics they practice. They are just so busy caring that the math doesn't matter except as a propaganda tool.

Flexo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flexo said...

There are 3600 seconds in an hour, 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour day, and 31,536,000 seconds in a 365-day year.

In the last 2000 years of human history, only 63,072,000,000 (63 billion) seconds have passed.

For 9.8 trillion seconds to pass, it would take 310,756 years.

9.8 trillion days would take 26,849,315,068 years. The earth and the sun are estimated to be only about 4.5 billion years old. And the entire universe is estimated to be about 13 billion years since the Big Bang.

So 9.8 trillion days is twice as long as the beginning of time.

Eric said...

"... I'm going to assume it is because your brain has less, not more, capacity than mine."

I saw the above comment at Instapundit and couldn't let it pass. What a remarkably stupid and arrogant comment. Didn't you vote for Obama in the first place? It was painfully obvious who he was before the election, anyone who voted for him has NO business talking down anyone else's "brain capacity."

Claude Hopper said...

rhhardin

should

main() { double i=9.8e9; while(--i>0); }

be

main() { double i=9.8e12; while(--i>0); }

?

JeanneB said...

Put another way:

Let's say you have a really good year this year. You earn $100 million!!

Now, you have to do that every year...for the next HUNDRED centuries---100,000 years---to get to $10 trillion.

Milwaukee said...

I thought we were going to give it a rest: give Ann a pass on that voting for Obama thing. What she really can feel guilty about is the scandal: because she voted for Obama, and told others she was voting for Obama, then others may have felt it was alright for them to vote for Obama as well. After all, Ann is voting for Obama. Now for that we should vilify her, until she recants and apologizes. Unless she has already done so.

9.8 Trillion, is, by the way, a rounded down number. They didn't want to go over 10 Trillion. (Maybe we should all capitalize "Trillion", just to show respect for what a humongous big number it is.) Can we put that on our charge card?

NewHam said...

$9.8 trillion

The real problem with this number is that it's way too low.

When in our country's history have we been able to borrow at rates as low as we can get today?

Never.

It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lock up a substantial amount of money at long-term favorable rates.

That number should be $50 trillion.

Patrick said...

Completely off the top of my head...

Average distance from Earth to Sun: 90 * 10e6 miles (I dropped a few million - good enough for government work.)

Feet per mile: 5 * 10e3 (I dropped a couple of hundred feet - goode enough, etc.)

Product: 450 * 10e9

Distance Earth travles around the sun, per year, in feet: 2 * pi * 240 * 10e9

Approximately 2.6 * 10e12 feet/year

So, if the Earth pooped a dollar bill for every foot of travel, it'd take a little under four years to poop 9.8 * 10e12 of them. Given that a dollar bill is about six inches long, we'd be able to give the Sun a two string dollar necklace.


You're welcome.

Patrick said...

Sorry, I meant "2 * pi * 450 * 10e9" above, not "2 * pi * 240 * 10e9".

Typing in semi darkness, without glasses, etc.

Don said...

Don't quit Senator Bunning. We need you.

SH said...

Jason (the commenter) said...

"I think the number will be higher."

Then the tax raises, new regulations, the making it more expensive to do business... all make it easier to not earn more money in the US... and pay taxes on it...

William said...

Despite the snotty comment above about "understanding" large numbers, there is a difference between working with such numbers and understanding them.
Physicist Brian Cox once commented that most physicists and mathematicians felt that (a few superintellects and savants aside) a trained mathematical mind could only comprehend about a million at best. Anything beyond that was calculation. Remember, studies at Stanford and elsewhere have shown a normal, untrained human brain has difficulty dealing with numbers beyond 4 (four) without using abstract arithmetical techniques--be they as simple as a pile of stones or a knotted string, or a memorized version of the same.
To help understand a trillion, I like this example.
If you spend a dollar a second, to spend a million dollars it would take you about twelve days.
A billion dollars, about 31.7 years. A trillion dollars, about 31,688 years.

Kev said...

Here's my solution:

Only taxpayers get to vote, and election day is April 16.


Amen. This has been talked about for a long time; now we need to elect people in November who will actually do this.

Paul said...

Re: Iceland and debts, and it won't happen here.

Well, it will happen other places first. Iceland already, Greece...

I just remind people of FDR's confiscation per Federal Order all physical gold. First time ever in the history of the Americans since the Spanish Conquistadors.

Then of course Nixon taking us off the gold standard.

People are right about Soros, et al. However, I have faith that a royal world wide investor shafting could be done quickly, if the Fed, Congress and the Executive conspire.