What $3 trillion looks like (graph)

The AP today breaks with traditional headline-writing style and has an article simply called “$3 trillion!” The first paragraph of that article reads:

On a single day filled with staggering sums, the Obama administration, Federal Reserve and Senate attacked the deepening economic crisis Tuesday with actions that could throw as much as $3 trillion more in government and private funds into the fight against frozen credit markets and rising joblessness.

I have a hard time comprehending the very concept of three trillion dollars. After all, even if you take Bill Gates, the world’s richest man — who is currently worth $14.22 billion — and round his wealth to the nearest trillion, he’d have nothing. And I’m nowhere close to Bill; round my wealth to the nearest billion, and I get zero. (Same for nearest million, actually.) So three trillion of anything feels to me like it far exceeds any ordinary individuals’ ability to comprehend.

If you took the $3 trillion and used it for eating hot dogs that cost $10 each, and ate them one a minute without stopping, you’d have enough money to keep on eating hot dogs for 570,776 years. Or you could give about $441 to every person on the Earth. Or you could use that three trillion to buy enough ping pong balls to fill more than 1,600 football stadiums.

I’m a visual person, so I took some time to come up with a graph that I think clearly demonstrates what $3 trillion looks like.

2 Responses to “What $3 trillion looks like (graph)”

  1. Rob Says:

    I wasn’t really comprehending the magnitude of the situation until I saw that graph. 3 trillion is truly a staggering amount.

  2. Georgia Says:

    LOVE the graph 🙂

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