- GOP Sen. Ron Johnson took to the Senate floor to let Americans know that $US1 ($1).9 ($2) trillion is, physically, a lot of money.
- “I think we’ve grown immune to these vast amounts of money,” said Johnson, who voted for the GOP’s $US1 ($1).5 ($2) trillion tax cut in 2017.
- He also displayed a graphic showing how large a stack of a trillion one-dollar bills would be.
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Johnson’s overarching message: $US1 ($1).9 ($2) trillion is, physically, a lot of money.
“I think we’ve grown immune to these vast amounts of money,” he said Wednesday. “I always knew we were going to be in big trouble, when we stopped talking about hundreds of billions of dollars and switched to talking about trillions of dollars. And so we talk about one trillion or two trillion, it just doesn’t sound as much as a couple hundred billion, or 800 billion, which was the stimulus package under the Obama administration.”
The senator then put up a graphic showing how long it would take to accumulate $US1 ($1).9 ($2) trillion at $US1 ($1) per second.
Per the graphic, it would take more than 60,000 years to accumulate $US1 ($1).9 ($2) trillion at that rate. A long time, as Johnson noted. And to show exactly how long, for anyone who was still unable to grasp the concept, the GOP senator pointed out that “the human race began to develop language about 50,000 years ago.”
Then he introduced a second graphic showing how big a stack of a trillion one-dollar bills would be. It’s unclear why he chose this figure or what it signifies.
According to the graphic, a stack of one trillion dollar bills would be 109,220km high. That’s a long distance.
“That is what we are debating spending,” Johnson said. “A stack of dollar bills that extends more than halfway the distance to the moon.”
Johnson then dove deeper into the relationship between money and the moon.
“This is at a point in time when we’re about $US28 ($36) trillion in debt,” he said. “That singles stack would be over 1.9 million miles. Or if we put it relative to the moon, that would be eight stacks; seven stacks to go directly to the moon and one further stack that’s 95 percent of the way there.”
“These are astonishing sums that we’re talking about, and the majority party here wants to jam this through through a reconciliation process,” Johnson added. “No consultation with our side. Just blow it through here, 20 hours of debate, a vote-a-rama, pass $US1 ($1).9 ($2) trillion in spending, and go home.”
Fact check: Here are some big-ticket items Johnson did not voice opposition to or actively supported:
- The Republican Party’s $US1 ($1).5 ($2) trillion tax cut, passed in December 2017 through budget reconciliation. Johnson joined 50 other GOP senators who voted to pass the bill which, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would saddle the federal government with an additional $US1 ($1).9 ($2) trillion in debt from 2018 to 2028.
- Trump’s crusade against the 2020 election results, which cost US taxpayers $US519 ($666) million and counting.
- Trump’s golf outings, which cost US taxpayers more than $US150 ($192) million.
“At some point in time, there will be a day of reckoning, the debt crisis, and it won’t be pretty,” Johnson said Wednesday. “My suggestion, at least as we consider this: is let us actually have a debate. Let’s have a discussion. Let’s consider the amendments. Let’s not do this in 20, 24, 30 hours. Let’s take the time to seriously consider what we are doing to our children in contemplating spending a stack of dollar bills over 217,261km high, extending more than halfway to the moon.”