Tuesday, September 4, 2012


For those of you who have been around for awhile, you may remember earlier articles about the "wall of debt".  In an attempt to translate the utter size of our national debt, I tried to relate the amount in means other than dollars.  The dollar amount is staggering and incomprehensible.  The "wall of debt" consists of dollar bills, laid flat and end-to-end, stacked on top of each other and stretching around the world at the equator.

On 01/04/2011, I wrote "How Much Do You Owe?"  Our national debt had just passed $14 trillion ($14,000,000,000,000) for the first time.  This amount relates to a 19' tall "wall of debt".  It was equal to a debt of $45,000 per citizen.  If we were to pay off the debt, one dollar per second (with no more borrowing and not paying any interest), it would have taken 448,000 years.

On 06/19/2011, I wrote "The 20' Wall of Debt".  The national debt was $14.437 trillion and the "wall of debt" had reached a height of 20 feet.  At that time, it would have taken 457,797 years to pay it off one dollar per second.

UPDATE!  We are now crossing another infamous milestone.  This week, our national debt will cross the $16 trillion mark.  Our current budget year is not yet over, but we already passed $1.2 trillion in budget deficit for the year.  This means that we are adding to the total debt at well over a trillion dollars each year.  (Trillion is equal to a million times a million.)  It will now take over 504,000 years to pay off the debt, one dollar per second.  The debt per citizen is over $50,000 and the debt per taxpayer is over $140,000. 

The annual interest on our national debt was $454 billion for fiscal year 2011, which was up $40 billion from the year before.  These amounts take into account the low interest rates we are having to pay.  Based on these numbers, for 2012, the interest could be near one half trillion dollars.  The government is borrowing around 40 cents of every dollar it spends. 

Unemployment has been above 8% for just about all of President Obama's first term.  And that does not include the number of workers who have given up looking or have jobs with minimal pay.  We have over 45,000,000 people on the food stamp program and nearly half of the country does not pay any income tax due to low income. 

Our country must have drastic changes to spending in order to survive.  ALL of the above in not sustainable.  The government is predicting deficits each of the next several years of over a trillion dollars.  Even if interest rates do not go up on our debt and even if we froze spending at current levels (which no one is attempting to do), our national debt will reach $20 trillion in five years.  This also does not take into account the added cost of Obamacare which will be hitting our budget by 2014. 

"Hope and Change" was a cute slogan four years ago.  Hope for change is essential now!

Many politicians support the BBA (Balanced Budget Amendment) as a solution to this problem.  The BBA is not solution at all.  Even if it were constitutional and a good idea, which it is not; it would not take effect until our debt has risen to the area of $20 trillion.  It has no feature for paying down the debt, but instead, has a feature to allow additional borrowing in order to pay the interest payments.  It could be exempted during any year the U.S. is involved in a serious military conflict (which is every year for the past ten).  It could be voided for any year the Congress gets the sufficient number of votes to increase spending.    The BBA is a farce and a smokescreen.  We do not need another amendment, we need people that have the backbone to drastically cut government spending - NOW!

If you do not see that this coming election is the most important in your lifetime, you do not understand the difference between liberty and slavery. 

1 comment:

  1. I like your "wall of debt"; but you're thinking linearly when, I think, you should be thinking exponentially.

    I read your post, and immediately thought of a comment that I wrote on another site just yesterday. It seemed like quite a coincidence as the debt (and fiscal issues generally) is not what I understand best. Still, I thought I'd share my comment.

    The comment was in response to another blogger questioning whether or not the U.S. will go bankrupt as a nation.

    Here is my response:

    There may yet be an out; but the window for drastic action is rapidly closing.

    The national debt now has a doubling-time of around six (6) years.

    That is, the $16 Trillion debt will be $32 Trillion in 2018.

    here’s a little story about exponential growth and “doubling-times”:

    GDP does NOT have a doubling-time of six years.

    Now, this is the same argument that Malthus used back in the 18th century (and that Paul Erlich and Obama’s science czar John Holdren used in the 70′s) to say that global population would outstrip food production. This, obviously, turned out not to be the case with population vs. food production. Malthus's catastrophic theory that exponential population growth would end up dwarfing linear growth of food production was proved wrong. First by the industrial revolution and the mechanization of farming equipment, and, second, because of the “Green Revolution” created by pesticides & herbicides in the mid-20th century.

    Unless there is some kind of revolution that would enable GDP to have a doubling-time faster than debt’s doubling time; the "debt-spiral" and bankruptcy will soon become inevitable. And, unless this revolution takes place early on in Romney’s Presidency, it will be too late.