» Rad Note: This entry originated in a previous post titled » How Big is the Universe?
When I arrived at the part where I discuss ways to conceptualize the size of the number TRILLION, I found myself detouring off into the theme you find discussed here .. namely that of the ENORMITY & IMMORALITY of our national public debt.
Surely you see the connection. Once started tho, it became difficult to stop. But since this topic is so different from the original, I cut and re-posted it here, in its own separate entry.
Ideally, I would love for readers to read both entries together (.. the way I wrote them). But I realize that may be asking a bit much.
Here's the part that deals specifically with comprehending the enormity of a TRILLION, and therefore that of our national public debt, along with a discussion on the immorality of leaving such an enormous debt for our children to pay.
» How Big is a Trillion?
Now we're gonna start using big numbers. So let's try to get some perspective.
How long would it take to COUNT to a MILLION, using the 1-Mississippi rate of 1-number-per-second?
Answer » 11 days (+ 13 hours, 46 minutes).
How long would it take to count to a BILLION?
Answer » 31 years (+ 8 months).
In other words, this is a huge number, but we can still deal with it .. cuz most of us can conceptualize 31 years. [ 31 years ago was 1980, back when Jimmy Carter was President. ]
How long would it take to count to a TRILLION?
Answer » 31,000 years. This number is so big that our minds have trouble dealing with it.
If we go back all the way to the time the paintings were made in the caves at Lascaux, we're only HALF way there (.. half way to 31,000 years ago).
Not that the transition .. from 11 days to 31 years is exactly what I would call a baby step .. but uh, have you noticed how Trillion-with-a-T seems to take off with a life of its own? .. leaving Billion-with-a-B far behind in its dust.
Think about those caves at Lascaux the next time you hear somebody mention our national debt, or watch it tick over to another "trill," which it looks like it will be doing here very shortly. Think about those paintings when you hear reports that our government wants again to increase the nation's borrowing limit. Those wall paintings done (by our ancestors) so long ago.
Every member of congress should be required to mount a debt clock prominently on the wall of their office .. surrounded by pictures of young kids .. the ones who will be required to pay it back.
Shameful how they continue to saddle our kid's future with this kind of debt .. for political advantage. (We are the biggest debtor nation in the history of the planet.)
In other words, if we balanced our budget tomorrow .. and started paying down our debt .. at a rate of $1-per-second .. it would take (are ya ready?) » 500,000 years .. to pay it off.
That's » FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND (.. in the year 502011).
Five-hundred-thousand years is clearly a period of time beyond the ability of the human mind to grasp .. seeing most of us humans dont even live to see ONE thousand years.
This all assuming, of course, that no interest accrues over the next 500 millennia. Only problem is .. the budget isnt even close to being balanced. Neither will it any time soon.
Put another way .. say we paid $1,000 dollars (one thousand) .. every second. It would still take 500 years to pay off our debt.
Let's see .. 500 years .. hmm, that would take us back to the time when Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at the Castle church in Wittenberg.
Anybody remember those days? How about your grandfather? Does he remember Luther? How about your Great Aunt Edna? No? Didnt think so.
One thousand dollars every second .. from then 'til now. Somebody please tell me I made a math error somewhere.
Oh wait! I *did* make an error. (Thanks, Dawg.) My calculation takes into account only ONE $Trillion. But we owe FIFTEEN. =)
Silly me. What was I thinking? It's actully much worse than I thought.
Does not this mind-boggling level of debt seem downright » immoral?
Stop. Count to three. Reread last sentence. (Key word in bold font.)
Clearly something is not right. Cant you feel it? Down in your bones? Intuitively.
I feel the need to speak out for those who are not yet old enough to VOTE .. however futile (feudal) my protest might seem.
Lots of people talking about the effects of "class warfare" .. but nobody seems to be talking about generational warfare. Our generation robbing theirs. Living large and putting it on their tab.