In order to spend $3.5 trillion you first need to be able to get your mind around how much money it actually is. It’s almost as difficult to comprehend this quantity of money as it is to comprehend infinity. Prepare your mind. I recommend doing some stretches. Perhaps a quick run through the New York Times Sunday Crossword followed by a speed read of Ulysses. Excellent, let’s get started.
How much is $3.5 trillion and how to spend it?
1. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York there is only about $829 Billion dollars of U.S. Currency in circulation in the United States. So unless you have a really high limit on your credit card (or can sell U.S. Bonds to China), you will need to spend all of the money in circulation every 86.45 days in order to spend $3.5 Trillion dollars in one year. You should spend some of it to pay people to go get it back for you to spend again. You could call them the IRS or something like that.
2. A dollar bill is approximately .0043 inches thick. If there was enough one dollar bills to put together 3.5 Trillion of them, you could stack them to the moon and have 11,974 miles left over to check out the “Dark side” if you wanted*. If you stacked them end to end, you could make it to the sun, and back, and back to the sun again and still have enough left over to fund health care. “Yikes!”
3. There have been approximately 63,429,421,260 seconds since year zero (that’s a little over 63 Billion for the speed readers). If you started in year zero, you could spend $55 every second until 2010. You’d be pretty fun to hang with, look me up on your trip.
4. You could give every man, woman and child on the planet $515.56. I subtracted for postage. Hey, that might actually be enough to save the post office.
5. It’s been estimated that the total value of residential real estate in the US is between $25 Trillion and $31 Trillion, so if you decided to buy it all, you would have about a 10% down payment and still be able to pay for your closing costs on the loan. I hope you have a good job, because your payment on a $25 Trillion mortgage at 5% amortized over 30 years would be $13.4 billion per month (please note this doesn’t include Taxes, Insurance, and PMI). That might stretch your debt to income ratios. I would recommend getting a fixed rate if I were you.
The sad truth about spending $3.5 trillion dollars in a year is that all you have to do is be the government of the United States of America. If you are one of her citizens, you are lucky, because we live in a country that has freedoms the likes of which the world has never seen. Sadly, we have used these freedoms to dig ourselves into a hole, and it isn’t looking like we are very interested in climbing out of that hole any time soon. I certainly hope that changes, but until then you and every other man, woman, and child in the United States is on the hook for $11,667 per year, and that’s not counting paying off the deficit. I guess the bright side of this is that if we dig the hole deep enough we will reach China, and they have all of our money.
*I utilized the distance to the moon when it is closest to the Earth.