Much of my education and professional life has been spent working with numbers, calculations, and spreadsheets. As we all know, the daily news and political debates regularly refer to our **$16 trillion** national debt and a 2012 budget deficit that exceeds **$1 trillion**. Even with all my experience, I have difficulty fully grasping the concept of **“trillion”.** Given the central importance of national fiscal policy in November’s election, I decided that helping my fellow citizens develop a clearer image of “trillion” would be an extremely positive step.

One trillion is represented by a “1”, followed by twelve zeros: **1,000,000,000,000**. It is also a **“million million”.**

In terms of everyday “clock time”, one trillion **seconds** equals **31,546 years!**

Consider “trillion” relative to the only meaningful measure of distance between objects in the **universe** – “a **light year**”. Since a “light year” is the distance light travels in an earth year, and light travels at 186,000 miles per second, then the “light year” would be 5,865,696,000,000 miles (not quite 6 trillion miles!). http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k-12/Numbers/Math/Mathematical_Thinking/how_big_is_a_trillion.htm

If you had spent **$1 million each day since Jesus** of Nazareth **was born**, you would still have spent** less than $1 trillion!**

If today, you started **spending $1,000/second**, it would take you **28 and one half years **to spend **$1 trillion.**

If you assume the median price of U.S. homes is $180,000, you would need to purchase **5,552,471 homes** to own** $1 trillion **in real estate. http://jaysteele360.com/how-big-is-one-trillion

Looking at a “trillion” from an international perspective, if a U.S. consumer **spent $1 per second**, it would take **12 days to spend $1 million**. If a British citizen spent $1 per second, it would take her/him **32 years **to earn the equivalent of **1 billion pounds**. And if a German earned $1 per second, it would take **32,000 years** to earn the equivalent of 1 **trillion** Euro (which is foolish, of course, because there will not be any Euros in 34012 AD!). http://seekingalpha.com/instablog/969455-madnumismatist/1108721-exactly-how-big-is-one-trillion-dollars-pounds-euro

Finally, and perhaps most helpful, according to U.S. Representative **Randy Forbes **and ** PolitiFact.com **(that fact checked his data), if our current national debt was split equally among all U.S. residents, we would

**each owe $48,700!**That figure equates to

**$126,585**for each “average”

**U.S. household.**

Personally, our family is already stretched as we service our family mortgage, student loans, credit card and utility bills. We don’t have the resources to service this **additional** federal burden, not to mention the **mountain of debt** that **House** **Speaker Madigan**, and Senate President John Cullerton, and Gov. Quinn (with a huge prior boost from convicted ex-governor Blagojevich) have **created for all who live in Illinois!**

So there you have as **“up close and personal” look **at a **“trillion”** as I can offer you. I hope it helps!