Chicago Sun-Times

NEWS Po­lit­i­cal war brew­ing over $1.35 tril­lion deficit

RED INK | Se­nate scut­tles bi­par­ti­san task force on taxes, spending

- BY AN­DREW TAY­LOR

Think­ing of count­ing to a tril­lion one sec­ond per num­ber? Bet­ter get started. It will take 31,688 years.

And tack on a few more years if you want to go for 1.35 tril­lion, the dol­lar es­ti­mate for the fed­eral deficit in the cur­rent bud­get year.

The whole sum could be taken care of if ev­ery Amer­i­can, all 300 mil­lion of them, forked over $4,500.

In 1981, Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan com­mented that “a tril­lion dol­lars would be a stack of $1,000 bills 67 miles high.” The debt, the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of an­nual deficits, now stands at more than $12 tril­lion.

Put an­other way, the $1.35 tril­lion could pay for 40,000 play­ers like Alex Ro­driguez, whose $33 mil­lion salary in 2009 made him base­ball’s rich­est man.

Think the $6.25 bil­lion paid out by Gold­man Sachs in salaries and bonuses in 2009 was a lot? The fed­eral deficit could sup­port the pay­roll of 216 such fi­nan­cial firms.

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