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Understanding The Bush Three Trillion Dollar Budget


By James Donahue


For the first time in U.S. history, our president has proposed a national budget topping three trillion dollars. Most of the money is earmarked for the immoral Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for national defense, and spying on Americans.


It also features a $145 billion package to cover the president’s budget stimulus plan to mail $600 checks to taxpayers.


Everything else, including education, health care, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and helping the jobless and homeless appears too be getting cut. Of course the Democrats in both houses are blasting such a budget and are already getting set for a fight. The outcome of that remains to be seen.


It is interesting to note that the national budget hit the two trillion mark during the Bush Presidency in 2002. It reached one trillion dollars in 1987 under the Reagan Administration.


It was about the time that Reagan proposed a trillion dollar budget that Americans first started talking about money in terms of such vast amounts. We remember a time when such a number was used mostly for measuring the distance between planets and stars. When you think about it, a trillion is an almost unfathomable number for an average person to put in perspective.


In fact, the word trillion is the largest number dealt with in history. We don’t have a word for a set of numbers with three additional digits behind it.


One columnist noted that if you count a trillion out loud, saying one number every second, it would take you 31,688 years to complete the count. And if you tried to spend a trillion dollars at the rate of one million dollars a day it would take you 737 years.


A trillion dollars is said to be a sum equal to about 25 percent of the market value of the 3,000 largest corporations in America.


If a person had gone into business on the day Jesus was born, and that business lost a million dollars a day, every day, for 365 days a year, it would take until October 2737 to lost a trillion dollars.


Columnist Bill Miller noted that a trillion “is a million million dollars.” He wrote that this figure is “beyond beyond – producing the kind of head-spinning you get when you watch a program on the universe, or view those photos of gaseous clouds at the edge of time.”


And that is just considering a single trillion dollars. The Bush budget asks for an expenditure next year of three times that amount.


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


One would have to circle the globe 120 times, or make 17,000 round trips to the sun and back, to travel three trillion miles.


Our universe, estimated to be 15 billion years old, would need another 200 such lifetimes to reach three trillion years.


If every living person in the world, with a population now estimated to be about 6.8 billion, got an equal share of three trillion dollars, everybody would receive $441. And if the money was split among the estimated 300 million Americans, we would all take home $10,000.


When we look at the figure in reverse, it means that it will cost every man, woman and child in the nation $10,000 just to cover a budget like that. It is obvious the debt will be borne by not only this generation, but several generations in the future.


That is a very large number.