Monday, October 6, 2008

It's all in the numbers.

Since the government keeps talking about 700 billion dollars, I thought this site might be educational:

Whole Lotta Change

This site helps people to visualize large numbers. It starts with 1 penny and moves up. Go here to see what 100 billion pennies looks like.

This will show you that 700 billion pennies will cover three football fields with stacks 127 feet high and 127 feet wide. And that's pennies. To get to 700 billion dollars, you would need 300 football fields!

That's a lot of copper. There are only just a little more than two hundred billion pennies in circulation - $2,000,353,186.72 (Two billion, three hundred fifty three million, one hundred sixteen dollars and seventy-two pennies) to be exact. That means we are still short about 69,799,964,681,328 (sixty-nine trillion, seven hundred ninety-nine billion, nine hundred sixty four million, six hundred eighty-one thousand, three hundred twenty-eight) pennies.

Perhaps a better way to visualize this -- at least for you Chicago dwellers -- is that if we were to create a stack of pennies equal in size to the Sears Tower in Chicago (that's 53.4 million cubic feet), we would still only have $26,236,846,080.00 (Twenty-six billion, two hundred thirty-six million,eight hundred forty-six thousand and eighty) dollars. That's still pretty far short of our bailout. We will have to build about 26 more stacks of pennies the size of the Sears Tower before we would have 700 billion dollars.

For a little perspective, consider this -- so far, after more than five years, we've only (only?) spent a little more than 560 billion on our ill-advised venture in Iraq.

That's a lot of dough, dinero, green, moolah, dead presidents, cash, brass, coinage, capital, bread, change, clink, long green, coin, lucre, currency, lettuce, sterling, booty, legal tender, swag, wampum, loot, and scratch. And just consider these other ways to spend that money. We could pay for

  • 51.6 million people with health care for four years OR

  • 181.2 million homes with renewable electricity for four years OR

  • 2.9 million elementary school teachers for four years OR

  • 27 million four-year scholarships for university students


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