The most valuable company on earth, Apple, is worth almost 3/4 of a trillion dollars. (In 2016 there were only 18 nations whose GDP was bigger.) That’s big. The current U.S. national debt? Ready? Right at $20 trillion. That’s a huge number. I’m not sure what it means exactly. Just know it’s a 2 followed by 13 zeros. And that if “someone” paid $1 million a day it would take 55,000 years to pay the debt off.
Let’s try to put it in terms we can all understand. (This is a terrific way to explain it to your kids…if you have any wee heathens in your home.) This is not mine. I heard it somewhere. Still blows my mind.
- 1 million SECONDS ago was just 12 DAYS AGO.
- 1 billion SECONDS ago, it was SUMMER of 1986. You were going to the movies to see Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Top Gun.
- 1 TRILLION SECONDS ago, it was 30,000 BC. The Neanderthal had only recently disappeared. In India, rock painting traditions BEGAN in the Bhimbetka rock shelters.
So when you hear people throw out the “trillion” number as if it’s nothing, know better. It’s almost unfathomable. Companies approaching a value of $1,000,000,000,000? Crazy. A government in debt to the tune of $20,000,000,000,000?
I think I’ll go balance my checkbook.