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Bailout Nation: What One Trillion Dollars Really Looks Like

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted April 6, 2009

Here is a great representation of just how large of a sum one trillion dollars is. As I have said before, it is a million million dollar bills if there was such a thing.

But as usual, a picture in this case is worth a thousand words.

I found it on the web over the weekend and it may just surprise you.

What does one TRILLION dollars look like?

“All this talk about “stimulus packages” and “bailouts”…

A billion dollars…

A hundred billion dollars…

Eight hundred billion dollars…

One TRILLION dollars…

What does that look like? I mean, these various numbers are tossed around like so many doggie treats, so I thought I’d take Google Sketchup out for a test drive and try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like.

We’ll start with a $100 dollar bill. Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slighty fewer have owned them. Guaranteed to make friends wherever they go.


one hundred



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


ten thousand


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


one million




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


one hundred million




And $1 BILLION dollars… now we’re really getting somewhere…


one billion





Next we’ll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we’ve been hearing so much about. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it’s a million million. It’s a thousand billion. It’s a one followed by 12 zeros.

You ready for this?

It’s pretty surprising.

Go ahead…

Scroll down…

Ladies and gentlemen… I give you $1 trillion dollars…(Our man is the tiny figure on the left that can barely be seen)


one trillion




Notice those pallets are double stacked……and remember those are $100 bills.

So the next time you hear someone toss around the phrase “trillion dollars”… that’s what they’re talking about.”


Great stuff……


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