A trillion dollars is about the total amount collected in [individual] income taxes by the U.S. federal government in fiscal year 2006-- $1.04 trillion, if you're curious to use the exact number. That gives me a simple rule of thumb for personalizing these numbers. If I want to know what an additional trillion dollars in government borrowing or spending will mean for me, I just imagine what it would be like to pay twice as much in federal income taxes for one year.But a commenter on his site has another way of looking at it:
So, for example, with the President's proposed budget calling for deficits of $1.75 trillion for 2009 and an additional $1.17 trillion for 2010, after 3 years of paying twice as much as I paid in 2006, I'd have about paid off my share of the bill for the first two years of the proposal.
I think this is really misleading since it assumes you would double all equal tax rates equally and pay for the whole thing in 1 year -- which is downright silly.How much is a trillion?
The top tax bracket is 35% - it was 92% in 1952. A tiny change in the top tax bracket (like 3%... I mean we are talking about adjusted gross income over $357K) would generate $1 trillion in revenue in only a few years. I mean you should know this since that's how we got rid of our > $1 trillion surplus. Or alter corporte income tax accounting rules to raise a miniscule amount from corporations.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects