# How much is \$3 trillion?

February 4, 2008 7:41:04 AM PST
A person given \$1 million a year to spend would need 3 million years to blow \$3 trillion. The United States, a government of sizable financial appetite, can do it in one.

Three trillion dollars is about what the federal government will spend this year for domestic and defense programs and benefit entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, according to President Bush's latest federal budget proposal Monday.

A trillion is a figure more commonly used when talking about outer space. A light year, the distance that light travels in a vacuum in a year, is about 6 trillion miles.

Written out, a trillion is a one followed by 12 zeros, or 1,000,000,000,000. That's a million times one million, or a thousand times one billion.

There are about 6.8 billion people in the world, meaning that every living person would get \$441 if the U.S. government's budget was divided up. If the money was split among the 300 million Americans, everyone would take home \$10,000.

Counting to 3 trillion at a rate of one number a second would take almost 95,000 years.

Looking at it another way, one would have to circumvent the globe 120 million times to travel 3 trillion miles. Similarly, that would be some 17,000 round trips to the sun. The universe, 15 billion years old at the outside, would need another 200 such lifetimes to reach 3 trillion years.