On Tuesday, the U.S. national debt topped $9 trillion for the first time in history, according to the U.S. Treasury Department's daily accounting of the national debt. Nine trillion dollars! The number is so staggeringly high that it exceeds our ability to comprehend it in monetary units.
Million, billion, trillion – in financial terms, for most of us, it means a lot of money, really a lot of money, but that is about as specific a picture as most ordinary people can grasp.
Let's put all these "illions" into perspective. A million seconds is roughly 12 days, whereas a billion seconds is approximately 32 years.
We understand dollars. And we understand time. So it would take 12 days to pay back a million dollars at a dollar a second. But if you started right now, you'd pay back a BILLION dollars, at a dollar a second, in the year 2039.
A trillion seconds is roughly 32 thousand years. At a dollar a second, you'd pay back a TRILLION dollars in the year 34007.
The U.S. debt stands at $9 trillion. If my calculator is working, then at a dollar a second, the U.S. could be debt- free in the year 290007.