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Published January 1, 2009

It is a fact that a person will not fear that which he cannot conceive. In biblical days the people who were drowned in the flood were warned repeatedly but they failed to listen. The reason was that they could not conceive of what Noah was telling them about – an impending flood that would cover the face of the earth and kill every living thing.

It was beyond their ability to understand so they had no fear of it at all. They watched Noah build the ark for 120 years and never took his warnings. It was inconceivable to them that such a thing would happen.

We have a situation today which is inconceivable to the human mind and therefore the public is unafraid of it and that is the national debt. We hear a lot about the annual deficit and we have become used to talking about two or three hundred million dollars as if that, in itself, is understandable.

We are now engaged in loaning huge sums of money to companies and institutions in order to keep them from collapsing in the credit fiasco. But what about those sums of money? How can the public possibly know the magnitude of the sums of money being discussed? I have done some investigating and calculating and I want to try to make it more understandable to people.

Consider this: A million dollars (which, by itself is larger than the average person can conceive) is represented by one thousand, $1,000 dollar bills and it is in a stack of $1,000 dollar bills 4.75 inches high. One thousand times one thousand is one million.

One billion dollars, and we speak of one billion as amounting to little or nothing in today’s world, is one thousand times one million. So, that stack would be 1,000 times 4.75 inches or 4,750 inches divided by 12 which is 395.8 feet. So a billion dollars is a stack of $1,000 dollar bills which is 395.8 feet straight up.

Now, let’s carry it a little farther. One trillion dollars is equal 1,000 times one billion. Now how high is that stack? This is where it really gets scary. One trillion dollars is a stack of $1,000 dollar bills which is 74.9 miles high.

This is calculated by taking the 395.8 feel of the one billion stack and multiplying it by 1,000. It turns out to be 395,800 feet which is divided by 5,280 (one mile) and the result is 74.9 miles. So, a trillion dollars is a stack of $1,000 dollar bills 74.9 miles high.

Our national debt is now about ten trillion dollars. That means that the stack of $1,000 dollar bills representing our current national debt is 749 miles high. This also means that the astronauts in the space shuttle can look out the window (assuming that they are orbiting at about 250 miles) and it is approximately 500 more miles to the tip of the stack. Now, folks … we are talking a stack of $1,000 dollar bills.

Our government is now talking about a $700 billion dollar bailout. If you do the calculations you will find that they are asking the American taxpayer to come up with a stack of $1,000 dollar bills 52.4 miles high in order to solve the financial crisis. Every billion dollars they discuss is a stack of $1,000 bills 395.8 feet high. You do the math. It will soon dawn on you that those people in Washington are dealing with numbers they cannot conceive so that is why they have no fear of the magnitude of what they are wanting to do.

One other little example: If each dollar of the $700 billion bailout was represented by one second, how long would it transport you back into history? In other words, how long is 700 billion seconds? It is 11,666,666,666.6 minutes ... 194,444,444.4 hours ... 8,101,851 days which being divided by 365 days gives you 22,196.85 years back into history.

This is long before history was recorded. It also means that it would take 22,196.85 years to pay off the 700 billion dollars at one dollar a second with no new interest added. Friends, one trillion dollars would take approximately 32,000 years to pay off at one dollar a second. Now remember, our national debt is about $10 trillion so it would take 320,000 years to pay it off at one dollar a second.

Staggering isn’t it? Now, you know why our Congress has no fear of what they are asking our country to do? They can’t possibly conceive of the magnitude of what they are discussing.

I think it is time they face the realities of what they are dealing with and get some semblance of common sense about what they are doing with our money because, as I stated earlier, there is no fear of the inconceivable.

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