What’s My Share of a 1.7 Trillion Dollar Budget

I read of the US Senate passing a 1.7 trillion dollar budget to keep the government from shutting down.  That’s a big number, and I’m not sure how much it’s worth to keep the government running.  Then I got to thinking – we need to personalize this.  There are about 330 million people in the US – so all I have to do is the math.

The first problem is that Genevieve Guitel built the chart, and on the short scale, a trillion has 12 zeros, and on the long scale a trillion has 18 zeros.  It’s confusing – both scales are the same for lower numbers like a thousand and a million – the scales diverge on a billion – in the short scale a billion is 10 to the 9th power, on the long scale a billion is 10 to the twelfth.  These two scales usually don’t get into the way of my calculations.  I’m going to treat the budget as if it’s the short scale first – if a trillion is 1,000,000,000,000 then the budget is 1,700,000,000,000 dollars.

First, to make it personal, if I spent a million dollars an hour, it would take just under 699 years to spend a trillion dollars.  Then the math:

1,700,000,000,000 dollars
330,000,000 Americans

So I cancel 6 zeros top and bottom and come up with 1,700,000/330      

Cancel two more zeros and I have 17,000/3.3

At this stage, my calculator can handle the math – this latest spending bill is $5151.51 for every man, woman and child in America.  Of course if the pundits are using long chart trillions, we would need to add six zeros . . . but our politicians wouldn’t sneak that sort of a definition change into a 4,155 page bill . . . would they?

If I read things right, it includes a new building for the FBI headquarters.  Hopefully our lobbyists can get it built as a community development project between Butte and Anaconda.          

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