What a Trillion Dollars (Our National Deficit) Could Buy

03 Aug What a Trillion Dollars (Our National Deficit) Could Buy


I found a great article on Kiplinger’s highlighting the opportunity cost of America’s trillion dollar deficit. Some numbers worth mentioning: a trillion dollars could buy 5.6 million homes. Or it could employ all 2.8 million residents of Kansas (including children) full time for the next 23 years. Or it could employ over 14 million teachers, which is more than double the six or so million teachers we currently have nationwide. Or it could enlist more than 59 million new privates in the Army at their current wage. Or it could simply provide a $50,000 income to more than 19 million families for a year.

Think about that last one there. At a current national population of 300 million people and an unemployment rate of 12%, we should have roughly 3.6 million unemployed workers in the country. We could give $50,000 to each of them and still have room to do the same for 15.4 million more families. How’s that for an unemployment fix?

The list goes on in the article naming what a trillion dollars could buy. The sad part is we don’t actually have a trillion dollars to spend here. The trillion dollars is how much the government is overspending its budget every year. The thing I find ironic, however, is the number of jobs and houses we could buy with a trillion dollars, yet the nearly trillion dollar bailout bill passed last year that was supposed to create jobs and stabilize housing has failed to even come close.

Now, I don’t recommend spending more than you make, and I am a big proponent of Congress having a balanced budget so I should be clear that I am not condoning the continued spending of $1 trillion over budget every year. But I do have this feeling deep inside me that says, “if we’re going to spend that much money, can’t we at least do something effective with it?”

Matt Wegner is a personal finance, small business and leadership coach focused on teaching his clients the tools for L.I.F.E. (Living In Financial Excellence). Discover which paths are in front of you. Find more articles on the government bailout at financialexcellence.net

2 Comments
  • Don Current
    Posted at 19:45h, 03 August

    Hmmmm. Do you suppose that a trillion dollars could hire enough personal finance coaches so that one could be personally assigned to every congressman and department manager in the federal government!?!?! Now THERE would be a wise use of $1 trillion, don’t you think?

    • Matt.Wegner
      Posted at 15:13h, 17 August

      I think you’re on to something there Don. That would have to be the best $1 trillion we could invest. And I dare say it wouldn’t take quite that much money. I’d personally be willing to train each congressman for half that! he, he, he.