Numbers Can Deceive

Politicians toss numbers around as if they are all the same. Million, billion, and trillion, sound alike but they are immensely different. You will pay these amounts through taxation or will lose the value of your savings to inflation. Restraining government is easier than fixing the problems they cause. Be a smarter voter.

How different are they?

Counting one number per second, you can count to a hundred in less than two minutes and to a thousand in less than seventeen minutes.

A million is a thousand thousands. Counting as above, you would reach a million in about eleven and a half days. Counting 24 hours of every day. There about 3.1 million seconds in a year

A billion is a thousand millions. In terms of seconds, counting one number per second, you would reach a billion in about 31.7 years. How many seconds old are you? If you started counting when you were 25, you would be almost 57  by the time you counted to a billion. With no sleep, probably tired too.

A trillion is a thousand billion or a million million. Setting out to count to a trillion is not smart. It will take you 31,700 years. Even counting to 80 billion, you  should have started before Plato and Socrates were born.

What it means

In the United States, the federal government just spent 1.9 trillion dollars on Covid relief. Almost 60,000 years of counting. They are talking about a new initiative with a $5 trillion price tag. Good for the politicians. bad for the folks.

They rely on the similarity of sound to deceive you. Suppose instead they had to call a billion a thousand million. A trillion is a thousand thousand million. Harder to say and harder to have people ignore.

It’s always been this way. We need to be more aware. The late U.S. senator Everett Dirksen died in 1969. One of his famous thoughts, relates to government spending and how it gets out of control.

“A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

Today a trillion here, a trillion there. Our brains are not able to deal with numbers of this size. Translate them into millions and you would have a small chance of understanding. Or better yet, think about this. If every living person in Canada, including adults and children, had $25,000 in cash, altogether they would not have a trillion dollars.

The question

Do you think what governments are doing is worth the $25,000 you and each of your family members have?  Oh wait, you don’t have it!  Could be a problem. Not a problem yet, though. In the first 8 months of the problem November 2020, the federal government only spent $240,000,000,000. Mere billions.

Understand their spending comes out of your pocket and they don’t think the way you do about getting value.Learn to think about their spending in terms of what you can understand.


I help  people have more income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call or email don@moneyfyi.com  in Canada 705-927-4770

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