Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 15, 2013

Letters to the Editor: 02/15/2013


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Visualizing the debt

Imagine $1 trillion of $100 bills tightly banded and stacked. How tall would the stack be? Would you guess about 8,000 inches, 666 feet or 0.1 mile?

I wanted to comprehend that number by visualizing the stack of $100 bills. My bank allowed me to measure the thickness of a band of 100 bills totaling $10,000. It was almost one-half inch thick.

My calculations found that $1 trillion in $100 bills stack to an almost unimaginable height of about 790 miles. To visualize it in a more down-to-earth way, I decided to lay the stack of $100 bills, totaling $1 trillion, beside a highway starting in Detroit. One would have to drive at 60 mph for 13 hours to reach the other end of the horizontal "currency trail" of $100 bills. The drive would take one north over the Mackinaw Bridge, through Escanaba and south of Green Bay.

Had I used the more familiar $1 bill, then the distance would increase to about 79,000 miles, which is over three earth circumnavigations.

Now, multiply $1 trillion by 16.5 to visualize our nation's debt. Imagine "¦&lettersig;Joe Griggs

Traverse City

Rural areas cut off

How sad is this. I was unable to watch the Governor's State of the State address. I have been a Michigan resident for most of my life (73 years), and I have seldom missed a State of the State. I am sure I have watched them on TV for 40 years.

Ten years ago my husband and I retired and moved to Cedar. We subscribe to Charter cable TV. We have always watched the SOS address on our Public Broadcasting Service station, which comes out of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. The night of Governor Snyder's address, this station was carrying a CMU basketball game. His message was not available on any other channel.

We tried our computers. The Michigan government site said it would be streamed from MLive. Unfortunately, our weak DSL Broadband Connection from Century Link was not strong enough to stream. We are unable to stream anything on this connection. (Charter does not provide internet service in our area.) Eventually, we accessed it on the radio.

It is amazing to me, in this age of advanced technology, that many people living in rural areas are so cut off from communications as vital as this one.

Carol LeGray