# How much does the stimulus weigh?

It will mostly be spent electronically, or in printed checks which can be for large amounts, but what if it was in actual US currency?

I'll round off the amount to $800bil (obviously I'm not including interest, or other stimulus and bailout bills, or the fact that a good chunk of the "temporary" spending, is likely to be permanent)

A dollar bill weighs a gram. That makes it convenient to use metric measurements. So I'll give the weight in metric tons. $800bil would weigh 800 billion grams, or 800 million kilograms, or 800,000 metric tons. (roughly the weight of all 10 Nimitz class aircraft carriers)

If you want that in a more convenient form using 100 dollar bills it would be 8000 metric tons (about the weight of a cruiser).

What if it was in pennies. A penny weighs 2.5 grams.

1000 grams makes a kilogram, 1000 kilograms is a metric ton, so its 1,000,000 grams per metric ton.

1,000,000 grams divided by 2.5 (2.5 grams per penny) is 400,000. So you have 400,000 pennies per metric ton. Divide by 100 and you get 4000. So a ton of pennies is $4000.

800 billion divided by 4000, is 200 million.

So the stimulus in pennies would weight 200 million metric tons (roughly the weight of all the garbage produced in the US per year, a fitting weight comparison for this bill don't you think?)

Earlier I did different calculations based on a trillion dollar stimulus. That would be a dollar a second for over 31,000 years, or if you lay the bills end to end they would reach from the earth to the sun.

## Many people just don't

Many people just don't realize how much a billion, let alone a trillion really is thanks to politicians using the numbers like they are nothing.

## My way of understanding it

My way of understanding it is to divide it by the population of the US. That brings it down to a number which is easy to understand. It is roughly "my personal share in the misery".

One trillion dollars divided by 300 million people is a bit over three thousand dollars. This is only a ballpark figure, because you may want to divide by less or more, depending on whether you want to include generations yet to come, or exclude non-earners today.

A scarier figure is the total debt of the US government today. It's a bit over 10 trillion, or close to forty thousand dollars per person - per adult and child, including babies, including even the newly born. Their share in the debt is a bit like original sin.

## Quarter million tons of Hamiltons

I did some calculations last week, and realized the 2009 federal budget, in $10 bills, would take up as much place as the Tour Montparnasse even after being neatly packed. At a density of 800kg per cubic metre, that's over 250 000 metric tonnes.

## Stacked Bills

I did this with a friend back in October. Don't remember the precise details but we calculated that with $100 bills stacked up it would fill between 4 and 8 large houses.

## How about tying it so

How about tying it so something effortful? Like, lessee, the backwards-looking lifetime of work (ie last 40 years' p/c gdp) is, meguess, about $800k. So we can call it $800b/$800k, so one million lifetimes of work.

Or we could reach way back and call it something like 40 times the accumulated wealth of the Roman Empire...

## Or, to put it another way,

Or, to put it another way, the stimulus is over $5000 for each person in the labor force. And if you think that's bad, the total federal budget in 2008 was over $20,000 per member of the labor force, and government spending at all levels was around $30,000 per member of the labor force.

I'm going to convert my net worth to pennies. It's going to be awesome.