Monday, March 4, 2013

What does the US debt mean to YOU?

The other evening, my ToastMaster's club heard a speech on the growing national debt. The figures viewed in the presentation were estimates based on projections and looked really scary flashing ever-incrementally into higher totals.

Of course I skeptically looked up more information, and there are a number of "us debt clocks"  but even the government's own site has equally oppressive numbers. We're talking TRILLIONS of dollars; our speaker showed us a webpage to help us visualize the magnitude. Of the many trillion- dollar demonstration webpages, I chose this summary:

Credit: www.elsolet,net
Remember, though: that field of pallets by the plane is only ONE trillion in this picture; the Treasury Department says the debt is more than $SIXTEEN trillion. So stack the image up 16 times in your mind. And of course then the speaker threw in the specter of "unfunded" liability for Social Security and Medicare and you're overwhelmed with far greater figures.

In fact, based on US Treasury figures, the cost to each and every citizen can be calculated.  This chart is an approximation of the Treasury figures:

United States Population
United States National Debt Per Person
United States National Debt Per Household
Total US Unfunded Liabilities Per Person
Total US Unfunded Liabilities Per Household

It's clearly a huge problem to think about.

But of course I did, wondering what could be the solution, and of course I came up with ideas. Tomorrow, we'll look at the causes; then we'll consider the implications; next I'll suggest some broad strokes for the fix; the final day I'll get down to some potentially workable details.
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