Just How Big Is $1 Trillion?

Rob Bluey /

Billion used to be a big number in the United States, but today trillion is tossed around with increasing regularity. We could use your help communicating its significance.

Whether it’s the $14.3 trillion public debt or the $62 trillion owed for the government’s unfunded liabilities, the number is so large that many folks have no real comprehension of what it means. How, then, do you convey its size?

Over the past year, my colleague Bill Beach and I have traveled to several cities across the country to talk about the debt crisis. Our audience is the Debt-Paying Generation, young professionals under 40 who are on course to inherit a country plagued by unprecedented levels of debt.