With official measurements of American currency from the US Bureau of Printing and Engraving and the US Mint, here’s some perspective on what these huge sums of money would actually look like and how they would compare to every day objects.
What would the money allocated to the TARP actually look like? How high would the AIG bonuses pile up if the bills were stacked one on top of another? How big, literally, is the National Debt?
Share Price: $90,000
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A single share of Class A Stock of Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of Warren Buffett, is among the priciest individual stocks traded on the market. If one share at current market value of $90,000 (as of 4/2/09) was converted into $1 bills, the column of cash would rise 32 feet, approximately 3/4 the height of a standard American utility pole (40 ft).
If denominated in $1 bills, laid one on top of another, the stack would measure 59,125 feet, extending into the stratosphere and topping off at the lower extreme of the Ozone layer. It would stretch to more than twice the altitude of the highest clouds in the sky, and the stack would approach the service ceiling of an F-22 Raptor fighter jet.
The Super-18 models are among the largest street-legal dump trucks currently available on the market, with 18 wheels and a hauling capacity of 22 cubic yards each.
This amount would be massive (literally) if handed out in cash, weighing approximately 1,907 tons when denominated in $100 bills. That amount would weigh just short of four Boeing 747-8 jumbo jets at their maximum takeoff weight of 975,000 lbs, or 485 tons.
If this amount of money was denominated in $100 bills, the sheer volume of cash would be enough to fill to capacity 62 BethGon II high capacity railroad freight cars, according to information from FreightCarAmerica.
With several big spending plans brought up in the past few months, including Federal Reserve program to buy Treasury Securities as well as the Public-Private Investment Program, the total cost of these individual plans has been estimated to be as much as $1 trillion. This stack of cash - in $1 bills - would measure 67,866 miles, stretching approximately 2.72 times around the Earth’s equator.
If denominated in $100 bills, $1 trillion would be enough to fill 4.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools, with a total volume of 398,000 cubic feet. For comparison, there is only about $625 billion worth of $100 bills currently in circulation, according to the US Treasury bulletin, which would fill about 2.8 Olympic swimming pools.
At this rate, if the value lost in the S&P 500 (between the October 2007 high and the market’s open on March 31, 2009) was denominated in quarters, the volume of coins would take approximately 1 hour 59 minutes 22 seconds to pour over the edge of Niagara Falls.
One can only imagine the sound it would make.
The mounting US National debt, growing by billions every day, has recently topped the $11 trillion mark. If denominated in $1 bills, the cash would stack as high as the tallest building in the world, the 2683.7 foot Burj Dubai skyscraper… 1,474,918 times. At this height, it would create a block of bills with a base approximately twice the size of the Empire State Building's, which is just under the size of three American football fields.
If consolidated into a single stack of $1 bills, it would measure about 749,666 miles, which is enough to reach from the earth to the moon twice (at perigee), with a few billion dollars left to spare. If the amount was laid out, the area of the $1 bills would cover the state of Rhode Island three times over, and in $100 bills the amount would carpet about 3/4 the area of Washington DC.
It is also interesting to note that this number is approximately 13 times the amount of US currency in circulation, according to the Treasury bulletin, which lists the amount at $853.6 billion as of December 31, 2008.