# Tell him about the Twinkie.

In the movie Ghostbusters, Egon Spengler tries to describe the amount of psychokinetic energy currently in the New York area using an analogy – a Twinkie:

Egon Spengler: I’m worried, Ray. All my readings point to something big on the horizon.

Winston Zeddemore: What do you mean, big?

Egon Spengler: Well, let’s say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning’s reading, it would be a Twinkie thirty-five feet long, weighing approximately six hundred pounds.

Winston Zeddemore: That’s a big Twinkie.

I have been trying to get my head around the size of the national debt of the United States, which, at the time of this post, stands at \$34.8 trillion. First, I developed an abbreviated number line in order to see what the number one trillion looked like.

So, one trillion is a one followed by 12 zeros. Thus, \$34.8 trillion is \$34,800,000,000,000. That’s a big Twinkie.

To further my perspective, if the debt magically stopped growing and the U.S. government committed to paying down the debt by a very modest \$1 every second of every minute of every hour of every day (\$86,500 per day), how long would it take to repay \$34.8 trillion?

Well, the answer is 1.1 million years! That’s not a big Twinkie. That’s a Twinkie of Biblical proportions.

Continuing the exercise, how long is 1.1 million years? One million years ago, the Earth was in the Pleistocene Epoch, an age when 30% of the Earth was covered with ice, the average annual temperature was 21 F (-6 C) and Mr. and Mrs. Free Spending Homo Sapiens were only a twinkle in the eye of Mr. and Mrs. Homo Erectus.

So, one million years ago, had primitive man spent like drunken modern politicians but then decided to embark on a course of fiscal sobriety, by the time Julius Caesar floated down the Nile with Cleopatra, the outstanding balance would only have been \$63 billion, or what the U.S. government is currently OVER-SPENDING every 16 days.

After a visit from the EPA, Peter Venkman is concerned about the sheer size of the ghost population being held captive in the Ghostbuster’s containment grid:

Peter Venkman: How’s the grid holding up?

Winston Zeddemore: Tell him about the Twinkie.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.