20 January 2011

Budget Scale

Over the next few weeks in my graduate seminar we'll be discussing the mathematics of government budgeting, with a focus on the US budget deficit. 

A first task will be to understand the magnitudes of large numbers.  This website has some very useful graphics.  Here is what one million dollars looks like in $100 bills:

Here is what one billion dollars looks like:
And here is one trillion dollars (the dude in the red shirt can be seen standing next to the corner in the lower left!):
The US federal budget deficit in 2010 is estimated to be $1.6 trillion in a budget of about $4 trillion (source, XLS).