Anyone can come up with "facts" to try to claim what $1 trillion amounts to, but of course they could have just pulled it out of their ass/the air to support their opinion. After BadCats' comment on this thread and since I didn't have much to do tonight, I thought I'd spend some time and gather some facts (from Wikipedia) and calculate some stuff. Here is what $1 trillion looks like:
The length of a US banknote (as all are the same size): 155.956 mm
So, how much is $1 trillion?
Well, one trillion $1 bills would be:
0.155956m x 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) = 155,956,000,000m = ~97.5 million miles
The Earth's furthest distance from the sun (aphelion) is 94.5 million miles(152mil km). Thus, $1 trillion in $1 bills laid length-wise would be further than the furthest distance from the sun to the earth!!!!!
Going back to the plane comparison, the speed of sound depends almost entirely on temperature. At 11,000m-20,000m, the cruising altitude for commercial aircraft, the temperature is -70ºF and speed of sound is 660 miles per hour (versus 761 at sea level, 59ºF).
97.5mil. miles / 660 mph = 147,727 hours = 6,155 days = 16 years, 311 days
The US' latest-and-greatest fighter aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, has a maximum speed (not cruising speed) of 1500 mph. At max speed, the F-22 would take 7 years, 151 days, 14 hours to cover the distance of 1 trillion $1 bills length-wise. With a maximum range of 1840 miles (w/extra tanks, no ordnance), it would need to be refueled nearly 53, 000 times (at the most fuel-efficient speed, not max speed)!!!!
The most recent figure for the number of humans who have ever lived (2002) was 106 billion. If the current birth rate of 134 million per year remained constant:
(1 trillion - 106 billion) / 134 million = 6672 years
It would take another 6.7 millennia for 1 trillion humans to have ever lived on Earth!!
How long is one trillion seconds?
1 trillion/ 60 / 60 /24/ 365.25 = 31, 688 years
The "average lifespan at birth" worldwide is 66.12 years...so 1 trillion seconds is the life span of 479 persons.
The average human heart will beat ~2.5 billion times during a lifetime (72 beats/min, 66 years)...so 1 trillion is the number of heartbeats during the lifetime of 400 people.
How much is 1 trillion gallons?
Almost 1 cubic mile (1.1tril gallons).
Over 1.67 million Olympic-sized swimming pools (660,000 gallons).
The costs of all armed conflicts the US has been involved in since the pullout from Vietnam: Iraq ($648bil), Afghanistan ($171bil), Gulf War ($9bil), and most likely US costs in Kosovo, Bosnia, Somalia, Panama, & Grenada (couldn't find costs for those, but my guess would be <$50bil combined).
...Almost the amount of money 244 people have decided to for American taxpayers to shell out after just 3 days of discussions ($1.166 trillion, $819bil + $347bil in interest).
If you feel like it, go find some facts, with proof, that demonstrate what $1 trillion looks like.