Other than a vague knowledge of astronomical distances, I really have a hard time getting my hands around the concept of a trillion anything. But I'm at a total loss when it comes to a trillion dollars, a number being kicked around with abandon in connection with the Wall Street financial bailout.
So what's a trillion dollars?
It's $1,000,000,000,000, or 12 zeroes to the left of the decimal point.
A trillion is a million million dollars.
If you laid a trillion one dollar bills end to end, you could make a chain that stretches from earth to the moon and back again 200 times before you ran out of dollar bills.
One trillion dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun. It would take a military jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out a roll of dollar bills behind it, 14 years before it reeled out one trillion dollar bills.
Meanwhile, the cost of not bailing out Wall Street is said to be $30 trillion.
I didn't think so.