The sums are staggering. One million dollars is one thousand thousand dollars. One billion dollars is one thousand million dollars. One trillion dollars is one thousand billion dollars.
The budget that President Obama presents is $3.7 trillion, which is three thousand, seven hundred, billion dollars; that would leave a deficit between outlays and receipts of one thousand, seven hundred billion dollars.
Government remains committed to investing or providing similarly mind-boggling sums buying into large companies, especially banks, and adding similar amounts to get people buying cars, houses, boats and the like, as in the old days. These confounding figures translate into record-level percentages of the total economic output of the economy.
Where does government get all of this money? The government gets much from taxes, on wages, on certain consumption items, on estates, and on interest and investment returns. But it far from relies on those sources, which are formal, transparent and legitimate tools of transferring private resources for public use.
A principal source of government spending, and borrowing, is simply printing money. The Treasury and the Federal Reserve simply issue it, by fiat. Since 1971 when President Nixon withdrew the US from the gold standard, there is no law that limits the government from printing as much as money as it wants, any time, for any purpose.