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What Do Trillions in Government Stimulus Spending Look Like? (an infographic)

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EDITOR NOTE: The article below is a bit dated, but we curated it for a very specific reason: it shows you what Trillions “looks” like. It shows you how much the government is spending on emergency stimulus, even long after the emergency has receded. The word “trillion” signifies an incredibly large amount. But if it were to be graphed-out and spatialized, we guarantee that the meaning of the word “trillion” will be nothing less than staggering. Especially when you realize that this is money you and every other American taxpayer will owe, one way or another, for the next several decades.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign into law on Friday the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package aimed at sending relief to Americans hurting form the year-long coronavirus pandemic. 

Congress has passed about $4 trillion in spending over the last year to respond to the pandemic and its economic effects. Most of the bills passed with bipartisan support, but Biden's plan passed along mostly party lines because Republicans opposed the large price tag of the package and provisions they say weren't related to COVID-19. 

Here's how to visualize the enormous figures for the different bills to help with the consequences of the pandemic.

Let's start with $1 million: If we imagine a block of 10,000 $100 bills fits in a large suitcase, then 1,000 of these blocks would give us a billion dollars, the size of a small pool.

Now we can start visualizing the relief bills. The first one rolled out almost one year ago:

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020

Became law March 6, 2020.

Provided $8.3 billion to fight the spread of COVID-19 in the United States by funding vaccine and testing development.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Became law March 18, 2020.

The $225 billion legislation provided COVID-19 testing funds, paid sick leave, and food assistance funding.

Read More on USA Today

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