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US National Debt Tops $12 Trillion

Zimbawe 100 Trillion Dollars

Zimbawe 100 Trillion Dollar Note

WASHINGTON: The US Debt has just topped 12 trillion dollars and is still climbing. If anything, the rate of acceleration is increasing, so we can look for more rampant spending to come. Our counter in the right column shows a running total so you don’t miss a minute of the action. USDebtClock.org gives a great snapshot of the whole picture. The US Department of the Treasury updates their website once per day, found here.

$12 trillion in debt cannot be paid off without draconian measures. Our federal reserve is printing currency like it is going out of style. (It IS going out of style.) This policy devalues our currency and will ultimately lead to runaway inflation. History has shown over and over again the fallacy of this approach. Countries like Zimbawe who try it end up destroying their currency,  their economy, and their country. In January 2009 the Zimbawe 100 trillion dollar note on the left was worth about $300. It quickly fell to zero. Our creditors know the danger the US is in. That is why Moody’s has warned the US about an impending credit downgrade.

The problem with the number trillion is that the general public has no clue what one trillion means. Most think that it is similar to billion. After all, they rhyme. In other words, one million, then a billion is bigger, then a trillion is bigger yet. Such a naive understanding makes the public easy fodder for a Congress hungry to feed on citizens’ ignorance.

Here is one way to think of our debt:

If you were born when Christ was born and you went to your dad and wanted an allowance. He says, “Son, I need you to have some decent spending money. I have a feeling you are going to live a long time. So here is $12 million. Spend it today, then come back tomorrow, and I will give you another $12 million. And I will do it every single day as long as you live.” And you spend $12 million every day from the time of Christ until now. You still wouldn’t have spent $12 trillion.

Or how about the picture below. We contacted Tim Geithner to borrow some currency for our photo studio but he declined our call. So we borrowed an image of one trillion dollars in $100 bills, which was computer generated by the folks at Gizmodo.com Then we stacked it 12 times.

A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.

A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.

How about a video, from a few months ago when we only owed $10 Trillion:

Do you get it yet? We’re in big trouble, and it is getting worse by the second (look at our clock at the right). Don’t feel bad if you don’t understand it. You’ll have plenty of time to get used to it. By then Congress will be spending quadrillions. Of course our currency will be completely worthless. We’ll also probably be speaking Zimbawe-ese. Or more likely, Mandarin.

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  1. Eric
    November 18th, 2009 at 08:37 | #1

    I don’t see this as a problem. We are the wealthiest nation on earth, if the wealthy would just pay their fair share we could wipe out this debt. http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/15/pf/taxes/who_pays_most_least/index.htm

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