# 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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3964
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04/20/12 - 01:21 am
2
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seeing as how most dollars are electronic, let us try this with electrons... ok, i've forgotten how to do advanced high school math. nevermind about that. bjphysics can ya hep a brotha out???

you know whats really scary? it is now mathematically impossible to pay off the national debt. squee! kind of puts my late fine from the library in perspective!

1035
Points
04/20/12 - 01:38 am
3
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What the heck? china has plenty of money that we can borrow. And if THAT credit line ends,there is always n.korea and russia!

1035
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04/20/12 - 02:47 am
2
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Maybe hussein will sell our missile codes to russia-that could be what he meant by "more flexible"! reckon hussein will sell n.korea a few working ICBMs?

1035
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04/20/12 - 03:26 am
2
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Maybe we can tax the "rich" @ 100% and pay off 2 days of interest on our national debt! Oh,what the heck,tax everybody @ 100% and we can get the debt paid off in about 100 years.

1035
Points
04/20/12 - 03:45 am
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omnomnom,how about the \$50,000 you owe the chinese on our national debt? i'll bet you could have thought of a better way to spend THAT money!

6461
Points
04/20/12 - 04:04 am
1
6

"Reagan proved that deficits don't matter"

25168
Points
04/20/12 - 05:39 am
2
1

The Democrats that ran congress under Reagan didn't seem to mind either after all it was their job to appropriate the money! Pelosi sure didn't mind appropriating debt. The Republicans that ran congress under Clinton seemed not only to pass a budget but balanced it. We have now given some government agency the right to Tax under Frank Dodd with no congressional over sight, that is even scarier.

25168
Points
04/20/12 - 05:41 am
1
1

Well it seems that the Democrats that ran the congress under Reagan ddidin't mind debt either. It seems that they appropriated the money and authorized it's use. The Republicans that ran the congress under Clinton actually submitted and balanced the budget!

6461
Points
04/20/12 - 05:57 am
2
1

There is such a thing called a veto. You know, the thing W didn't use until July, 2006, on stem cell research.

30631
Points
04/20/12 - 07:26 am
1
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Don't worry we won't run out-the Fed is printing it as fast it can. I guess we could run outta paper. Hmmmmm growing trees takes time-I know "Algae" (of course)they make cellulose. Gonna take a lot-harvest brown algae from the oceans to make paper. Back in business heading to a Galaxy nearby. Swooosh.

6461
Points
04/20/12 - 07:30 am
3
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For the fact challenged: China only owns around 8% of US debt.

6461
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04/20/12 - 07:32 am
3
3

Gotta love it when you start getting thumbs down by quoting Dick Cheney.

30631
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04/20/12 - 07:36 am
1
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That's true Tech. The Fed owns most of our debt. Hey maybe they will just "forgive us" our debt. Whatta boost that would be.

30631
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04/20/12 - 07:38 am
1
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I just wrote a grant for my cellulose research into Brown Algae. I called Obama on the Bat phone and he said he will speculate on my brilliant idea with funds for a starter company. I'll call the company Brown Cell-U-Lose. Perfect.

6461
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04/20/12 - 07:39 am
4
2

Most of the debt is the Social Security trust fund.

6461
Points
04/20/12 - 07:40 am
2
1

Don't knock it. Back in the '70s one of my buddies was hitchhiking and was picked up by a guy who was running his truck on ethanol from kudzu.

35
Points
04/20/12 - 08:29 am
1
3

For the fact challenged: 8% of 16 trillion is still a hell of a lot of money. I would rather owe that money to ANYONE other than CHINA.

3346
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04/20/12 - 08:40 am
3
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Our federal government has the best and brightest minds in the world on the payroll, yet they haven't a clue about balancing a checkbook? No. There's a lot more to this that is not being disclosed to the American people.

36
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04/20/12 - 08:51 am
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1

If you take 16 trillion Strings (Plank lengths @ 1.616199E-35 meters) and lay them end to end it is 1/100 billionth of the distance between atomic nuclei.

36
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04/20/12 - 08:54 am
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1

What happened to the “Discussion” feature where you could see posts as they came in?

101
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04/20/12 - 10:15 am
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Unpublished

Techfan have you made any plans for when this country goes belly up.I'm about 100% sure you haven't done anything,what is your plan to try and live off others like half of this country now.

30631
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04/20/12 - 10:23 am
1
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"Don't knock it. Back in the '70s one of my buddies was hitchhiking and was picked up by a guy who was running his truck on ethanol from kudzu." That's funny back in the 70's I built a car, I called the Leaf, based on photosynthesis. It uses the sun's energy to split water producing hydrogen and oxygen (like photosystemII)which I burned for fuel which combusts to make water which was reused for fuel. The idea was a closed system engine that would only need a modest addition of water ever once in a while. I perfected it and the engine ran non-stop for 14 months. The problem I had then was a way to carry an explosive fuel which now there are materials to do so, so I circumvented the problem by only producing the hydrogen and oxygen when in active use. I realized this discovery was a game changer and would drastically alter our economy so I decided to keep it a secret and kill the idea.
Sort a like Keanu Reeves and Morgan Freeman in Chain Reaction. :)

6461
Points
04/20/12 - 02:59 pm
1
2

Why in 110 years of automobiles are they still powered by an internal combustion engine that runs on gasoline?

191
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04/20/12 - 03:27 pm
0
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Unpublished

the reason cars are still ran with combustion engines is because if they werent i doubt many of you and the general public could afford them....go ahead and buy that 35,000 dollar leaf that cant go any further than 100 miles...ill keep my sentra for 15 that will go 435 miles on a tank

35
Points
04/20/12 - 04:00 pm
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Because we'd rather bail out underperforming auto manufacturers than pump resources in to alternate fuel sources.

6461
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04/20/12 - 04:32 pm
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I don't believe the auto manufacturers are the ones running millions of dollars of ads and spending millions of dollars on lobbying to push oil, gas, and coal.

30631
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04/20/12 - 05:13 pm
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Well Tech there is merit to those posits. Hitler may have been a nutcase, but the scientist he recruited were top notch and way ahead of their time in seeking alternate fuels. I not only wonder why we still use gas engines but why we use nuclear energy basically to produce heat to boil water and turn steam turbines rather than something like a photocell but instead of photons gama rays, alpha particles, etc. Seems there should be another way without so much material and heat.

250
Points
04/20/12 - 05:42 pm
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Large spikes in government deficits have been associated with world wars; this time, government blew-up the budget in peacetime!

We may be witnessing the global failure of "hyperglobalization" and neoliberal economics. When these two are dead and buried, will fiscal stewardship make a return performance?

126209
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04/20/12 - 05:43 pm
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Hey Tech, wonder how long his engine lasted.

30631
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04/20/12 - 07:10 pm
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Hey KSL, I saw your post the other day, but I changed email services and I don't have my old email book.