Does Anyone Do Math Anymore?

While the European crisis continues to take center stage, nobody seems to remember the mess that the US is in.

The federal government spends about $ 3.8 Trillion in a year and takes in approx. $2.15 trillion in various shapes and forms. That leaves a gaping hole of $1.65 trillion a year.

The official national debt is about $16 trillion. In that official debt, we have not included any unfunded liability for pensions to government employees, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Estimates of those unfunded liabilities vary from $66 trillion to $140 trillion. For example, Uncle Sam has promised about $700,000 in pension and health benefits to its retired civil servants and so far the only source of that money is an IOU. Add another $17 trillion to that coming from Obamacare.

It astounds me how, as a nation, we talk about borrowing and spending trillions of dollars as if it was chump change. It is chump change for the federal government. But it is worthwhile to remind ourselves how absurd government spending has become. Following is a visual representation of the millions, billions and trillions:

This is one million in $100 bills.

And this is 100 million, $100 notes, stacked on a standard pallet.

This is 1 billion, about 10 tons of paper.

And here is the US deficit, $16 trillion — not including unfunded liabilities.

Remember we were talking about that $140 trillion deficit. Here is a visual.

How much is a trillion dollars anyway?  If Jesus Christ spent $1 million every day since his birth until today, he would still not have spent $1 trillion.


  1. marvin calhoun says

    Mr. Gitter, You use the word “deficit” in your image captions. Shouldn’t it be “debt”? There is more than 16 trillion in national debt. The 1.65 trillion annual budget deficit adds to the national debt.
    Do you mean $700,000 (average) for “each” retired civil servant?


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