A Pronounced Debt

As the Obama administration rolls out a budget featuring a $1.75 Trillion deficit for this year, let us consider the size of numbers.

At some point in our history, possibly in the late 1800s (anyone know?) the government began juggling not just Millions of dollars, but Billions. There should have been an announcement given by the president or the secretary of the treasury to the effect of “Hear ye, hear ye, people, we’re dealing in BILLIONS now, not Millions. As in one thousand millions. BILLIONS. The shit’s getting big.”

We were too cavalier when it happened. They sounded too much alike. That’s why when W. Bush confused the two when he was running in 2000, no one made a big deal about it. We should have paid more attention. Hear ye, hear ye, we’re bumping into a Trillion.

I’m not saying we have to panic, just that we need to acknowledge where we are and how big the number is. Here are some ideas for giving Trillion the respect it is due.

Capitalize anything ending in “illion.”. These numbers are big enough to have a personality. A Trillion is a proper noun.

Never say 1.75 Trillion. That’s sounds like one and change. That’s 1 Trillion, 750 Billion, y’all.

When we speak the word aloud, we should pronounce it with an echo. As in “Barack Obama inherited a Trill-rill-rillion dollar deficit.” It’s a Trillion dollars; it merits a couple more syllables. A Trill-rill-rillion.

And of course, trill those Rs.

–Dan Kil-il-ilian

The New Depression


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