T Nation

Money

This is what a million dollars looks like if it’s in $100 bills. Doesn’t look like much. We could carry in a bag.


A billion is of course (in the US) a thousand times bigger. We understand that but when you see it, at least to me, it’s a bit surprising.

Now a trillion is a thousand billions. Again I am flabbergasted. See the little guy at the bottom left corner?

And here’s the US debt. I think this pic only shows 11 trillion while the debt as of this week is 16 trillion.

Why am I posting this?

Well look…there’s only one man watching all this money.

One man…that one in the red shirt. I say we take him and then we take as much money as we want!

OK, but seriously…I guess this means wow…that’s a lot of money, considering how happy most everyone not just in the US but around the world would be happy to get their hands on just one of those 100 dollar bills.

another way to look at it :

$16 000 000 000 00 /300 000 000
= $53 333
per capita

ie : a bit more than one year of average wage.

or
$53 000 / 12 x 40
$110 per american per month, for 40 years.

On top of the rest. Of course.

Another way to look at it: To pay the federal debt in gold at today’s prices would require a solid gold block 80’x80’x80’. All the gold ever mined in the world would only make a block around 62’x62x62’.

[quote]kamui wrote:
or
$53 000 / 12 x 40
$110 per american per month, for 40 years.

On top of the rest. Of course.[/quote]
You’ve usually got an interest rate with a debt

That becomes an issue when you’re thinking of 40 years

I often wonder what the interest rates are, who the debts are owed to, and what the money funded. Anybody know where someone can find these information?

Cool illustration. It really is hard to comprehend how much a billion is, a trillion is, etc. This really help “internalize” the magnitude of those numbers.

And does anyone else think that the million is a little small ? I worked as a teller for a while and I have counted out 10,000 in 100s many times, that stack seems much too small.

Also found this - http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_tall_is_1_million_dollars_in_100_dollar_bills

Apparently a stack of 1 Million in 100s is 43 inches tall

Also found this - http://www.cockeyed.com/inside/million/million_dollars.html

So it looks like the illustration is flawed…

And the people are so happy about havng this much debt they reelected obama.

[quote]squating_bear wrote:

[quote]kamui wrote:
or
$53 000 / 12 x 40
$110 per american per month, for 40 years.

On top of the rest. Of course.[/quote]
You’ve usually got an interest rate with a debt

That becomes an issue when you’re thinking of 40 years

I often wonder what the interest rates are, who the debts are owed to, and what the money funded. Anybody know where someone can find these information?
[/quote]

According to wikipedia’s article : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt
real (ie compared with inflation) interest rate is apparently negative since 2010.

now you can interpreted that in different ways :

either :
“oh, it’s not that bad after all, let’s borrow some more money”

or
“then it’s really a great time for some cuts. We have to do it NOW”

depending on where you stand on the political spectrum.

Also, remember that a significant part of this debt is due to/owned by american citizens, american banks, and american corporations.
Foreigners “only” owns $4,5 trillions of the total debt.

Regardless of these numbers, the main problem is not what you already owe, but what you will inevitably, predictably have to pay when baby-boomers will start to retire.

Now, THAT is scary.

[quote]kamui wrote:

[quote]squating_bear wrote:

[quote]kamui wrote:
or
$53 000 / 12 x 40
$110 per american per month, for 40 years.

On top of the rest. Of course.[/quote]
You’ve usually got an interest rate with a debt

That becomes an issue when you’re thinking of 40 years

I often wonder what the interest rates are, who the debts are owed to, and what the money funded. Anybody know where someone can find these information?
[/quote]

According to wikipedia’s article : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt
real (ie compared with inflation) interest rate is apparently negative since 2010.

now you can interpreted that in different ways :

either :
“oh, it’s not that bad after all, let’s borrow some more money”

or
“then it’s really a great time for some cuts. We have to do it NOW”

depending on where you stand on the political spectrum.

Also, remember that a significant part of this debt is due to/owned by american citizens, american banks, and american corporations.
Foreigners “only” owns $4,5 trillions of the total debt.

Regardless of these numbers, the main problem is not what you already owe, but what you will inevitably, predictably have to paid when baby-boomers will start to retire.

Now, THAT is scary.

[/quote]

Not at all scary to the people who voted for Obama. They are not intimidated in the least by the amount of debt. They are laughing at people who think this is a serious issue.

They are indeed courageous people…or just plain dumb.

[quote]ZEB wrote:

[quote]kamui wrote:

[quote]squating_bear wrote:

[quote]kamui wrote:
or
$53 000 / 12 x 40
$110 per american per month, for 40 years.

On top of the rest. Of course.[/quote]
You’ve usually got an interest rate with a debt

That becomes an issue when you’re thinking of 40 years

I often wonder what the interest rates are, who the debts are owed to, and what the money funded. Anybody know where someone can find these information?
[/quote]

According to wikipedia’s article : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt
real (ie compared with inflation) interest rate is apparently negative since 2010.

now you can interpreted that in different ways :

either :
“oh, it’s not that bad after all, let’s borrow some more money”

or
“then it’s really a great time for some cuts. We have to do it NOW”

depending on where you stand on the political spectrum.

Also, remember that a significant part of this debt is due to/owned by american citizens, american banks, and american corporations.
Foreigners “only” owns $4,5 trillions of the total debt.

Regardless of these numbers, the main problem is not what you already owe, but what you will inevitably, predictably have to paid when baby-boomers will start to retire.

Now, THAT is scary.

[/quote]

Not at all scary to the people who voted for Obama. They are not intimidated in the least by the amount of debt. They are laughing at people who think this is a serious issue.

They are indeed courageous people…or just plain dumb.[/quote]

I wonder who is responsible for the idea that running deficits doesn’t matter:

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill was told “deficits don’t matter” when he warned of a looming fiscal crisis.
O’Neill, fired in a shakeup of Bush’s economic team in December 2002, raised objections to a new round of tax cuts and said the president balked at his more aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of accounting scandals because of opposition from “the corporate crowd,” a key constituency. O’Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due.” A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired. The vice president’s office had no immediate comment, but John Snow, who replaced O’Neill, insisted that deficits “do matter” to the administration."

Source: [X-ref O’Neill] Adam Entous, Reuters, on AOL News Jan 11, 2004


I for one believe that this is a huge fucking problem but, at least in my mind, neither party is serious about solving it.

[quote]tmay11 wrote:
And does anyone else think that the million is a little small ? I worked as a teller for a while and I have counted out 10,000 in 100s many times, that stack seems much too small.

Also found this - http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_tall_is_1_million_dollars_in_100_dollar_bills

Apparently a stack of 1 Million in 100s is 43 inches tall

Also found this - http://www.cockeyed.com/inside/million/million_dollars.html

So it looks like the illustration is flawed… [/quote]

that was cool

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:

[quote]ZEB wrote:

[quote]kamui wrote:

[quote]squating_bear wrote:

[quote]kamui wrote:
or
$53 000 / 12 x 40
$110 per american per month, for 40 years.

On top of the rest. Of course.[/quote]
You’ve usually got an interest rate with a debt

That becomes an issue when you’re thinking of 40 years

I often wonder what the interest rates are, who the debts are owed to, and what the money funded. Anybody know where someone can find these information?
[/quote]

According to wikipedia’s article : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt
real (ie compared with inflation) interest rate is apparently negative since 2010.

now you can interpreted that in different ways :

either :
“oh, it’s not that bad after all, let’s borrow some more money”

or
“then it’s really a great time for some cuts. We have to do it NOW”

depending on where you stand on the political spectrum.

Also, remember that a significant part of this debt is due to/owned by american citizens, american banks, and american corporations.
Foreigners “only” owns $4,5 trillions of the total debt.

Regardless of these numbers, the main problem is not what you already owe, but what you will inevitably, predictably have to paid when baby-boomers will start to retire.

Now, THAT is scary.

[/quote]

Not at all scary to the people who voted for Obama. They are not intimidated in the least by the amount of debt. They are laughing at people who think this is a serious issue.

They are indeed courageous people…or just plain dumb.[/quote]

I wonder who is responsible for the idea that running deficits doesn’t matter:

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill was told “deficits don’t matter” when he warned of a looming fiscal crisis.
O’Neill, fired in a shakeup of Bush’s economic team in December 2002, raised objections to a new round of tax cuts and said the president balked at his more aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of accounting scandals because of opposition from “the corporate crowd,” a key constituency. O’Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due.” A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired. The vice president’s office had no immediate comment, but John Snow, who replaced O’Neill, insisted that deficits “do matter” to the administration."

Source: [X-ref O’Neill] Adam Entous, Reuters, on AOL News Jan 11, 2004


I for one believe that this is a huge fucking problem but, at least in my mind, neither party is serious about solving it. [/quote]

Over the past several years I think you’re correct. Yes, Obama raised the debt more in four years than all other past Presidents COMBINED. But, you are correct it was a problem before that. I think if people were serious about debt reduction and actually understood the problem they would have booted Obama out for certain. Paul Ryan is a very serious guy and the Ryan Budget was a huge step in the right direction. But he isn’t nearly as cool as Obama. And people being who they are honestly do not understand how serious this problem is.

In the end while both parties are responsible I think it’s really clear by now that Obama is certainly not going to eliminate the debt. It will be over 20 trillion before he leaves office.

YIKES!

Neither courageous nor plain dumb, if you ask me.

Nard’s posts (and my comments) show exactly why.
It shows how hard it is to figure what those numbers really means and “to internalize their magnitude”, as tmay11 said.
It’s even harder to understand them in their economical and demographical context.

Most people just don’t know.
They have to trust others on these matters.
And basically, they have two choices :

to trust a political party who tell them “Have hope : everything will be ok”.
or
to trust another political party tell them “Have fear : the economy will collapse”.

Problem is this great economic collpase has been predicted dozens of times since 1973, and it didn’t happen. Yet.

I suspect the republican party may suffer from some kind of “boy who cried wolf” syndrom.
In a way, they have been right too soon.

Now, there certainly is many people who DO understand the problem.
But many of them won’t trust the boy who cries “premarital sex is bad” or “evolution doesn’t exist” to solve it.

In any case, i’m pretty sure that telling people “you are dumb” is not the best way to regain their trust.

Especially if it’s true.

[quote]tmay11 wrote:
And does anyone else think that the million is a little small ? I worked as a teller for a while and I have counted out 10,000 in 100s many times, that stack seems much too small.

Also found this - http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_tall_is_1_million_dollars_in_100_dollar_bills

Apparently a stack of 1 Million in 100s is 43 inches tall

Also found this - http://www.cockeyed.com/inside/million/million_dollars.html

So it looks like the illustration is flawed… [/quote]

In the first picture in the OP, it appears there are 10 stacks of bills, similar to the second link you provided. If all of them together are about 43 inches, divide that by 10, that’s 4.3 inches per stack. So I’d say that first picture is pretty much spot-on.