Monday, March 12, 2012

Now That’s What You Call a Debt!

When news commentators and economists talk about the trillions of dollars the U.S. is in debt, those numbers don’t compute for me. Frankly, any time dollar signs have more than five numbers behind them, I can’t relate. So when someone says the national debt is more than $15 trillion, all I can say is, “Say what?!”

Just a few minutes ago, I went to an Internet site ( to see the current state of our country’s indebtedness. In case you’re wondering, that’s defined as the face amount or principal amount of marketable and non-marketable securities currently outstanding. As I watched, the number was just under $15.5 trillion and counting – counting VERY fast.

But what does that mean, really? To be honest, I don’t have a clue. It’s hard enough for me to comprehend multi-million dollar salaries of athletes and entertainers. Billions seem unfathomable. Trillions? Wow!

Recently, however, I read a columnist’s simple analogy that helped me understand more clearly why our nation is in such deep monetary manure. I haven’t confirmed these figures, but I think they are reliable:

U.S. tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
New debt: $1,650,000,000,000
National debt (total): $15,500,000,000,000
Recent budget cuts: $38,500,000,000

You might look at that and say, “That still doesn’t mean anything to me. What’s with all the zeros?” So in the columnist’s analogy, he suggested removing the last eight zeros of each number and pretending it’s your household budget. Looking at it that way, the numbers are:

Annual family income: $21,700
Money spent by family: $38,200
New debt on credit card: $16,500
Outstanding balance on credit card: $155,000
Total cuts to family budget: $385

Now can you see where the problem is?

Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Looking at the numbers above, it seems the U.S. is determined to give new meaning to the term “slavery.”

By the way, the estimated U.S. population is just over 313 million people. Dividing that number into the national debt means your and my personal shares of the debt are $49,000-plus each. If you want to generously send a check in that amount to President Obama, I’m sure he’d appreciate it.

But do it quickly – it’s reported the national debt has continued to increase an average of $4.01 billion per day since Sept. 28, 2007!

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