Congressman Rothfus' Office Christmas Tree
Congressman Rothfus' Office Christmas Tree
Congressman Rothfus’ Office Christmas Tree

What could you buy with one trillion dollars?

The Christmas Index, published annually by Pittsburgh’s own PNC Bank, tracks the cost of items and services given as presents in the Twelve Days of Christmas carol. According to the Index, you could buy every single resident of Pennsylvania’s Twelfth District partridges in a pear tree, geese-a-laying, drummers drumming, and the rest of the Twelve Days of Christmas for the next twelve years.

A trillion dollars is a huge number. For most of us, it is difficult to imagine a trillion of anything because it is not a number that we use in any practical manner every day.

Here are some examples that might help:

AAA predicts that 85.8 million Americans will take to the roads this holiday season. With a trillion dollars, you could provide each of these travelers with more than 3,500 gallons of gas. That is enough fuel for each traveler to go around the world more than three times.

Or you could bring all 705,000 of your neighbors in PA-12 to Disney World in Florida and pay for their flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, and admission tickets for $1.8 billion, leaving you more than $998 billion in the bank.

With a trillion dollars, you could build 3,115 Consol Energy Centers, 4,629 PNC Parks, 5,000 One PPG Places, or 66,666 Cathedrals of Learning. You could build 3,559 Heinz Fields. Or you could bring all 705,000 constituents of Pennsylvania’s Twelfth District to all eight Steelers home games, buy them a hamburger and some nachos, and still have almost half a trillion left over.

Our nation’s $17.23 trillion debt is not an abstraction. It is a threat to the economy, national security, the social safety net, and seniors. Today, every man, woman, and child’s share of the debt is more than $54,000. To protect those things that are most important to us, the federal government must begin to live within its means and address the debt.

Balancing the budget will grow the economy, add jobs, and ensure that we have the money to protect and preserve Medicare and Social Security and promote a strong defense. That is why I voted for a budget, earlier this year, that would balance federal spending in ten years without raising taxes yet again on hardworking Americans.

The Murray-Ryan budget agreement is much more modest proposal resulting from compromise with the Senate. But, it does make some progress in correcting our nation’s deficit.

Much more needs to be done to adequately confront the debt threat. I remain committed to advocating for a budget along the lines of the one I voted for in March and working with my colleagues to solve this problem.


  1. Same old tune from the No. 1 representative of those who have looted the treasury for years and created deficits. Take that song back to the heights we aren’t buying it here.

  2. And NOT one mention of Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or goodwill towards men.
    Typical Teabagger BS from a typical Teabagger Scrooge.

    Sorry Grinch. I didn’t vote for you the first time and I won’t vote for you – EVER.

  3. Guess what Keith? I supported you when you were shaking hands at rally’s, still a no one in the politico someones land.

    I voted for you, hoping for a real change. Not sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

    How many people in the tri-county area have lost homes, jobs, heat in winter, food due to disconnected electric in summer, because they make a lousy frigging 10 bucks a month over poverty? But, hey, Duquesne Light will get a huge increase this year.

    How many people cut their prescriptions in half from September thru March because they know they’ll meet the medicare cap and be forced to pay ridiculous prices for insulin (as an example) at a price of 60 – 90 bucks a shot, when the shit doesn’t cost 30 cents to make or distribute? How many Senior citizens will freeze this year, or have frozen in the past 8? How many once “middle class economic” families are freezing or doing without healthy things because of a lousy 10 buck or plus one child difference in their economic profile? Yet no one took the time to see the problems the Affordable Care Act would truly cause. Why? Because it was a novel bigger than “War and Peace”

    How many people have taken their lives because they just couldn’t take being dependent on the government, feed their family, keep a roof over their heads because loan modifications don’t exist for homes under $250,000?

    How many school children are frowned upon because of poor dentation, hand-me-down clothing? Being categorized because they have a single parent? Or a different race?

    I give you credit for taking a pay loss during the budget crisis. That’s all you’ll get from me. You want to support the Murray-Ryan bullshit agreement? You will agree to cut 1% from our military members, past and present. The people that put THEIR– ass—THEIR LIVES on the line to serve and protect this country. Shame on you! How dare you! You’re an educated man, a Juris Doctorate, you did read that little snip written in there didn’t you?

    You politicians bow to either the left or the right, the unions and the financial contributors …. None of you have the balls to take a real stand on any issue. You sway, you back step and you forget you’re in office because the little person had faith in you.

    The only viable solution to this massive (aptly put) “Cluster Fuck,” is a third party. One that refuses to bow to the money pushing groups/power mongering lobbyists and politically correct cowards on both sides.

    I’ll end my written tirade by wishing you a Merry Christmas. The taboo phrase that irritates so many, and that you seemed to miss in your op-ed, but used as another “attention grabber” for political gain.

  4. this guy is a creep lawyer that hinges on disgruntled democrats, gay hating, gun touting kook republicans that want religion
    to be preached on the floor all while he serves the master….wall street lords for the two percent that run this country and the tax breaks they want.

  5. I get a kick out of the politicians and those not living in reality saying some change is worthless because it only saves $1.5billion or $550 million. It all adds up to money out of the pockets of the people that need not be taken. Every dollar of waste and redundancy saved goes back to its rightful owner-the taxpayer. The old saying started as ” a million dollars here. A million there…now you are talking about real money”. Then it went to billions and now trillions. Big change is needed across the board.



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