Put deficit in perspective

I dabble in amateur astronomy. As such, I routinely deal with large numbers because celestial space is huge.


As a result, allow me to give you some hopefully understandable ideas as to the size of the current U.S. budget deficit of $16 trillion – that’s 16 with 12 zeroes after it.

Suppose 16 trillion $1 dollar bills were laid end to end. How long would it take light to traverse that single line, assuming each dollar bill is 6 inches long instead of its actual 6.14 inches? It would take only two hours and 16 minutes, or 136 minutes. Light from our sun takes about 8.25 minutes to reach Earth.

So about 16 rows (136/8.25) of $1 bills placed end to end from Earth to the sun would be needed to pay off our national debt. Just one of those rows of dollar bills would total $1 trillion.

Sort of scary, isn’t it?

Perry Holcomb

North Augusta, S.C.



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