Some of us can still remember when a billion was a big number. (I recall President Lyndon Johnson’s reluctance to present a $100 billion budget to the Congress in the mid-60s.)
Nowadays a billion dollars doesn’t seem like a great deal of money. As the memorable Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen reportedly* said.
“A billion dollars here and a billion dollars there and it soon adds up to real money.”
But that time has passed us by. A lot of money today is measured in the trillions - our gross domestic product (good), our national debt (bad), our budget deficit (worse).
But do any of us really comprehend a trillion – a trillion of anything?
This may help put it – a trillion – in better perspective:
• One million seconds equates to 11 ½ days.
• One billion seconds equates to 31.7 years.
• One trillion seconds equates to 31,700 years.
Get the idea?
* Although widely quoted for many years, there is some doubt among historians that Senator Dirksen actually spoke these exact words.
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