Thursday, October 9, 2008


If you're American - man, woman, child, or some variation thereof - you're in hock. In addition to the credit cards, student loans, car payment, mortgage, home equity loan, and so on, your share of the national debt of the United States government is approximately $187,000 at the time of this writing.

If you take a minute to look at this clock, the debt is increasing by approximately $100,000 per second (at the time of this writing).

There was a story in the news recently about the national debt clock in New York City running out of room to display the ever-increasing total. As NPR put it:
The National Debt Clock has run out of numbers. The giant sign in New York City changes constantly as the federal debt increases. It was put up years ago by a real estate developer horrified that the debt was approaching $3 trillion. Some years ago, the clock stopped when the U.S. started running a surplus. But now it's running again, and when the debt struck $10 trillion recently, the owners had to improvise an extra number one.
This is apparently getting some attention (rightfully so!), because a web version of the debt clock is showing more 503 errors, which usually indicate capacity problems. If that page refuses to load the first time, try it again - it usually comes up. It has several interesting links with more information, as well as a news feed of related stories. One of the better ones describes some of the consequences and how nobody noticed when we passed the $10 trillion mark.

However, according to the folks at Truth in 2008, who "aim to bring the truth back into the national debate — and to stop our politicians from sweeping this issue under the rug," the problem is actually much worse. Things like Medicare and Social Security represent billions of dollars in unfunded obligations that will have to be paid for. On top of that, there's interest to be paid on this debt. If you've ever watched mafia movies, you know about the vig. If you haven't, then take a close look at your most recent credit card bill!

We pass no judgment on the veracity of the claims made by Truth in 2008, but they seem reasonable, and these folks make a good argument. Logically, this might - just might - have something to do with the way the stock market's been performing recently!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AAAHHH!! It just keeps getting worse! Luckily, it's all a g*ddamn fiction...