One Trillion Dollars

I think I should read Matt’s stuff more often:

The shocking truth, according to Bilmes and Stiglitz, is that if one applies the Congressional Budget Office’s basic assumptions about the duration of the [Iraq] conflict (“a small but continuous presence”), it will cost nearly a staggering $1.27 trillion dollars before all is said and done.

The number is so high as to defy human comprehension. All the numbers ending in “-illion” sound the same. But a trillion is what you get if you spend a million dollars a day … for a million days. That’s 2,737 years — a cool mil a day, every day, in other words, until the Year of Our Lord 4743. Or, working backward, from the time when Homer wrote the Iliad up to now. The $270 billion in rounding error is worth another 750 years at the million-a-day rate. That takes us up to the year 5493 — or back to when Moses fled Egypt.

> American Prospect: The Price is Wrong

Author: Rob Goodspeed


  1. I once opined that the -illions should always be spelled “million”, “BILLION”, and “T*R*I*L*L*I*O*N” in newspapers and reports and such, to try and get this point across. The human mind is simply not capable of understanding such scale, it takes lots of training to even get close.

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