Whatever the future brings in terms of the US economy I predict that the last few months will have changed the way that we look at very large sums of money. The speed, and apparent ease, with which the government has come up with sums of two hundred billion dollars, seven hundred billion dollars etc because we cannot afford to let the banks/the auto industry/name your industry fail is going to leave people with the idea that these sums of money can be found if the situation is dire enough.
So millions of people die of dysentery/malaria/AIDS/measles/tuberculosis, not because the sums required to help them are too large but because we choose not to help them. That is a fact we always knew but it is going to become increasingly hard to ignore. I'm hardly being original in this observation, I've seen several people make similar comments already and I predict more to come.
Check out this wonderfully simple post if you have ever wondered What does one TRILLION dollars look like? The Federal Government currently raises a little over one trillion dollars in individual income taxes each and every year.