What does a trillion dollars look like?

I was a zero. I came to grips with it in 9th grade when my girlfriend said c'ya. Because I didn’t play in the big game Friday night? Because I’d rather spend a Saturday on a launch ramp trying to pull backsides? Probably both, me… a zero. Back then I thought zeros were bad. Turns out the more zeros you parade the bigger and badder your story really is.


Twelve zeros is the latest craze as federal spending grows faster than revenues and deficits drive debt higher and faster. So, what does a trillion look like and what comes next?

First: When trillion becomes old school, what will replace it?


A Tale Of Many Zeros

How do a trillion cool ones stack up?

(I like them, but don't take credit for the images below. Props to JB at pagetudor for putting this illustration together and FSN for the heads up.) 



The illustration starts with a $100 dollar bill. Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slightly fewer have owned them. Benji’s are certain to make friends wherever they go.

A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. 100 burritos can fit in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.


Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million worth of bills (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it.

While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million in bread is a bit more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet...

And 1 billion bux... now we're getting somewhere...

And finally..

$1 trillion dollars…


Notice the pallets are double stacked. ...and remember those are $100 bills. The next time you hear someone toss around the phrase "trillion dollars"... that's what they're talking about.