You are the President. The Chinese lend you $1 trillion as long as you spend it. . .

. . . on one program/project/objective. What would you do with it?

1.) Secure the Social Security program.

2.) Invade a foreign nation without provocation hoping that it’s natural resources would benefit you.

3.) Reconstruct a crumbling infrastructure.

4.) Provide adequate healthcare to all of your citizens.

5.) Improve your educational system.

6.) Bail out private financial institutions that have gotten in trouble due to bad judgment on the part of their corporate officers.

7.) Sending a manned spacecraft to Mars.

8.) Something else. (Please explain.)

If you want to answer in order of priority by listing the numbers, that’s fine. If you want to debate, that’s fine too.

8: Invest it in my own private bank account in a villa in a country without extradition to america.
What? I’m not running for president. I can be evil if I want to.

No buddy, you ARE the President and a bunch of reporters are going to track you down and make your life miserable. One in every 10 people in the world are trying to figure out a way to steal the money from you. After all, what can you do with $1 trillion? After that, you will end up like Noriega. The Marines will be blasting bad metal music at 110 decibels 24 hours a day into your villa which will make a life sentence in Abu Ghraib seem like resort living. You will cave in.

Now, answer the question.

You can buy a lot of armed militia to defend you for a trillion dollars. And who said anybody but me and the Chinese knew about this little deal?

Okay, fine, I’ll be serious. Am I the president now or in some hypothetical, happier time?

Seriously, I would devote it all to the objective of paying off the national debt. It would drop in there like a thimble into an empty bucket if the deficit’s anything like it is now, but every little bit helps. Maybe it would shore up the economy or curb inflation or something, and worst comes to worse, I can always grow the debt back again by spending, on multiple objectives.

Assuming the Chinese didn’t go for that… as to the options you list, it depends on what’s going on. Is the infrastructure really crumbling that badly? As in, public, government-owned infrastructure? Then I’d fix that. Otherwise not (obviously).

It’s not going to provide healthcare or education for any significant length of time unless you mean to use the money to bribe politicians to change policy. In that case, I would bribe myself as well - it’s only fair, right?

I wouldn’t bail anyone out unless I bought them out - by which I mean, socialized their industry. But in that case I’d probably need that money for bribes again…

I wouldn’t put it in the social security system - if I can stop the other politicians from pillaging it, then it’ll be fine; if I can’t, dumping another trillion in there would just give them more to ‘borrow’ from it.

Devoting it into researching and developing serious alternative energy options might be worthwhile. How many nuke plants can you buy for a trillion dollars? (Minus the bribes and community ‘donation’ payoffs against NIMBYism, I mean.)

I wouldn’t start any wars or send any manned spacecraft anywhere, unless the economy and all that was so good I couldn’t find anywhere else to put the money. In which case, sure, why not invade Mars? If we have the money to burn, that is.

Happy now?

Yes, a valid answer. Thanks, that’s the type of thing I’m looking for.


“Loan”? Assuming I went mad with power and decided to increase the public debt by 20% on a whim, I’d use it on energy and transport (probably rail) infrastructure, with the intent that the country become less dependant on oil. Depending on how the water supply situation is in the U.S., I might throw in a few desalination plants for good measure.

Spend half on nukes, to ensure I don’t have to pay the other half back.

Spend it on making cheap tech items, plastic toys, clothing industries. Then spend the rest on putting pressure on China to stop using child labor, pay increases for the employees, no prison labor for exported good, and get there factories working more cleanly.
Then pounce, exporting our goods to China, with the trade surplus pay off our debts, and move on. :wink:

#2 - I’d invade China. :smiley:

Semi-seriously, I’d probably opt for #3. This is a synergistic solution, as the job of repairing our infrastructure will also create thousands upon thousands of jobs, at all skill levels, for years to come. With proper oversight of the bidding process, and with ample rewards for beating the deadlines, we could really jump-start the economy as well as make our bridges and roads safe.

I was wondering when someone would get to #2!!!


Exactly how many men am I allowed to send on this spacecraft?


Any president dumb enough to take another $1 trillion in loans from China (in the form of selling them more Treasury bills) would probably also be dumb enough to spend the money on something like free swimming pools for everyone. And China lending the U.S. another $1 trillion would be like a bank offering a home equity loan to someone living on credit cards.

I’m not saying it would never happen, just that it would be a really dumb move.

I’m saying it has already happened and as we continue to run huge deficits who else is going to buy our Treasury bills?

Use the money to print 300 million fake IDs so when the Chinese come looking for their dough, the Americans (now calling themselves “Formanistanians”) can claim it was loaned to somebody else.

Develop clean renewable energy sources so that we are energy independent without destroying our environment. The return on this investment would pay off the loan and return dividends forever.

huge economic stimulus for the country

hire American companies, architects, designers, workers

think of a modern FDR type New Deal



This is a loan, not a gift. Using it to pay down the debt is attractive before you realize that, but nonsensical after.

OP: What kind of interest are talking here? It matters. If the interest figures to significantly outpace inflation, then the right answer is just to decline the loan.

Talking about T-Bills. Nothing different from what’s currently going on. The Chinese are loaning us money but what are we doing with it and what should we be doing with it?

Why invade China when you can buy it? A trillion bucks , re-invested back into China and many other Southeast Asian countries would not only give us enormous diplomatic leverage but vastly improve government finances. Why blow the money when we can invest it?

That said, I find the idea that China has a trillion bucks to loan highly dubious.

#5 – Education. That way, the smart people of tomorrow can sort out our fuckups of today. :smiley:

(Seriously, though, I believe there’s hardly a greater resource for a nation.)