I can't imagine all those people talking about 5 billion dollars for a border wall have any concept what that amount of money really is. I was given a concrete example and I still can't comprehend it.

In 1955 my economics class went to the Federal Reserve Bank in Portland. At that time the government was taking the $1,000 bill out of circulation to try to thwart organized crime.

We descended downstairs to the vault where they stored the money. Our guide pulled a bundle of bills off the shelf and handed it to me. I could see this 4.5 inch stack of bills had $1,000 bills on the top and the bottom, which I figured to be a lot of money. It was a million dollars. He then informed us that one billion dollars would be a stack longer than a football field.

For those who have forgotten how many million are in a billion, the answer is 1,000. When I returned home I used my slide rule to multiply 4.5 inches by 1,000 to get 4,500 inches. That figures to be 375 feet. A football field is 340 feet. If you were to stack five of those football fields end to end I am sure you would be unable to recognize the end of the bundle.

Maybe that is what they are counting on.

Carlisle Harrison


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