With talk of how much money will probably be needed to help with rebuilding from storms throughout the country, millions aren’t even mentioned and billions is the new guestimate.
It’s anybody’s guess what a border wall will cost and that’s easily in the billions class.
And then there’s the national debt and we are looking at trillions.
Millions, billions and trillions. While it is hard to even wrap your head around what a trillion is, you wouldn’t be too surprised if something is going to cost a zillion dollars.
It kind of makes you long for simpler times when a million dollars was a big thing.
From 1955 to 1960, a television series called “The Millionaire” was just the ticket. For five years every week, John Beresford Tipton Jr. would write a check for one million dollars for a recipient. The show looked at the ways sudden and unexpected wealth changed their life, all within the space of a one-hour show. It was a little more dramatic than the way some of these current day “reality” shows look at lottery winners and how bad their life turned out after winning.
Tipton would always remain off camera and offer instructions to Michael Anthony, his executive secretary, about delivery to the recipient. It was a cashier’s check that Anthony delivered and people’s lives could immediately change.
The show is kind of fuzzy in my mind, but I don’t think they even worried about taxes on the show. That is kind of strange because during the eight years of the Eisenhower presidency, from 1953 to 1961, the top marginal rate was 91 percent. Things seemed to work pretty well for the country without a trickle down theory. People had jobs and bold infrastructure was being built for the nation.
I did a little research and looked at some definitions of what a billion is these days. A billion is a thousand million. That would be written like this: 1,000,000,000. If we wanted to make a book with a billion dollar signs, printed 1,000 per page and with pages printed on both sides, the book would be 500,000 pages long.
Another source looked at one trillion dollars. A stack of a trillion one-dollar bills would go almost one quarter of the way to the moon and weigh approximately 10 tons. Assuming you live 50 more years you could spend over $54 million every day of your life and still leave a few grand in the bank for the kids.
Since we’re exploring numbers, I asked reference.com if a zillion was a real number. This may serve as an answer for a trivial pursuit question.
“The first known use of the word zillion is in 1934. A derivation of zillion is zillionaire. Zillionaire refers to a particularly wealthy individual. Another take on the word zillion is gazillion. Gazillion is also used to refer to an indeterminately large number. However, in addition to referencing a particularly large number, gazillion is most often used with at least a hint of jocularity. The most common misconception associated with zillion is that it follows trillion in the order of numbers.”
Just a few weeks ago there was a national lottery that reached one billion dollars. Unlike the Millionaire Show, the prize is before taxes. As jackpots rise, it is always interesting to see when people start playing. The jackpots have grown over the years to unreal prizes and each of us often has an internal line that has to be crossed before buying a ticket. Some people won’t buy a ticket for a “measly” $200 million and will only take action after the jackpot goes over $300 million.
Meanwhile, we can all hope John Baresford Tipton will come knocking at our door. It may not be a trillion, but a million will do.