The new COVID-19 relief bill passed in the House late on Wednesday despite Johnson's protests.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) spoke in opposition to the COVID-19 relief package because, he said, if the $1.9 trillion value of the bill was stacked in dollar bills, it "would be more than halfway to the moon."
The bill, which passed in the House late Wednesday night, would provide $1400 checks for millions of Americans, unemployment aid, and resources for states and the federal government to address the pandemic.
Johnson focused on the size of the package and laid out how high a stack of dollar bills would be at the one million-, one billion-, and one trillion-dollar marks.
"It would be 67,866 miles high," Johnson said, "That's an astonishingly large stack of dollar bills that equals a trillion dollars."
Noting the relief package is valued at $1.9 trillion, Johnson continued his strange analogy.
"The distance to the moon is 238,900 miles. So, that stack of $1.9 trillion worth of $1 bills would be more than halfway to the moon," he concluded.
Recent polling has shown that in spite of Johnson's lunar references, the bill has support from a large majority of Americans, including a bipartisan coalition of Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
A Monmouth University poll released on the same day as Johnson's speech found 62% support for the plan.
From a Mar. 3 session of the U.S. Senate:
RON JOHNSON: Another way of looking at this is through distance and volume. So here's the calculation, I should have brought a dollar bill to just demonstrate it's thickness, but the thickness of a dollar bill is 4.3 thousandths of an inch thick.
So, to illustrate how much a trillion dollars is, let's start with a million. If you stacked a million-dollar bills on top of each other, they would be – they would stack up to be 358 feet high. You can see the calculation here. That's about a 30–35-foot story building.
So, how big would a stack of a billion-dollar bills be? It'd be 67.86 miles. Now, there's something called the Kármán line, I think I'm pronouncing that right, that's the point where the atmosphere ends, and outer space begins. That's at 62 miles. So a stack of a billion dollars would actually exceed the atmosphere and extend into outer space. 67 miles.
So again, the next question is, how big would a stack be of a trillion-dollar bills? Well, it's a thousand times that. So it would be 67,866 miles high. That's an astonishingly large stack of dollar bills that equals a trillion dollars.
But again, we're not just talking a trillion dollars, we're not talking about just 67 miles worth, we're talking about $1.9 trillion dollars. Which would stack up to 135,732 miles high. Now, Madame President, the distance to the moon is 238,900 miles. So, that stack of $1.9 trillion worth of $1 bills would be more than halfway to the moon.
That is what we are debating spending. A stack of dollar bills that extends more than halfway the distance to the moon. And this is at a point in time where we're about $28 trillion in debt.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.