That's almost quaint these days, and I'm not even talking about the cost of health care.
I used to say I had been around so long that nothing surprised me. But last week, I got surprised - I should say I had a jaw-dropping shock is a better way to say it - every time I picked up the newspaper and read about the numbers we're throwing around lately.
Like yesterday when I picked up The New York Times to discover we have spent more money rebuilding Iraq's schools, hospitals, water treatment and electrical plants - $54 billion - than we have spent on any construction project since the Marshall Plan, which you'll recall was to rebuild Europe after World War II.
Sobering but not surprising: Many of those facilities may close when we leave because there are not enough trained Iraqis to operate them.
Another number in the news last week that I found astounding: It is now to keep one U.S. soldier on the ground in Afghanistan, not to mention that for every soldier there, we have one civilian contractor.
CBSNews.com Special Report: Afghanistan
Which helps explain another shocker that came out last week: that 10 years ago, we owed the government of Spain more than we owed China. Yet, when President Obama came calling to China, we owed the Chinese more than a trillion dollars.
Yep, old Ev Dirksen was right. A billion here and a billion there did add up to real money - and a big pile of bills - but has going a trillion dollars in hock to one country made us more secure?