THE BLOG
04/21/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

# The Budget Deficit: How Big Is \$1.5 Trillion?

The federal budget deficit for 2010 is estimated at \$1.5 trillion. You may find this number difficult to comprehend.

We understand a million. That is what used to make one rich, before it became the price for a small fixer in a modest neighborhood.

Trillions are more of a problem.

Only when placed in context can one understand the enormity of \$1.5 trillion.

To illustrate, consider a stack of bond certificates, each worth \$100 billion. To reach a value of \$1.5 trillion, this stack would rise to OVER SIX-TENTH OF AN INCH IN HEIGHT.

A few more illustrations of just how large \$1.5 trillion is:

• If you wanted to give one hundred dollars to each galaxy in the universe, \$1.5 trillion would pay FOR THE FIRST 30%.

• 1.5 trillion equals one fifth of THE NUMBER OF CELLS IN THE AVERAGE HUMAN BODY.

• \$1.5 trillion is roughly DOUBLE \$750 billion and about of HALF of \$3 trillion.

• \$1.5 trillion equals 0.3% of the TOTAL DERIVATIVES MARKET.

• \$1.5 trillion could finance ALMOST SEVEN HUNDRED Boston-style "big digs."

• If one divided this \$1.5 trillion bailout equally among one hundred banks, EACH WOULD RECEIVE \$15 BILLION

• With \$1.5 trillion, one could purchase A LOT OF EXPENSIVE STUFF, including the Honus Wagner T206 baseball card, AND STILL HAVE MONEY LEFT OVER.

• Invested in municipal bonds paying 5%, \$1.5 trillion would produce an annual TAX FREE INCOME OF \$105 BILLION.

• If ants were priced at \$20 per thousand, one could PURCHASE 7% OF THE WORLD'S ANT SUPPLY FOR \$1.5 TRILLION.

I trust this has helped you to put the IMMENSE SUM OF \$1.5 TRILLION in perspective.