Can you comprehend the size of U.S. debt?

Let’s compare it to something we can visualize. First, what is the debt figure?

Click on the thumbnail and get a good look at what $14 trillion looks like written out.  A “14” with TWELVE places after that! And 15 cents. Check the clock for updates.

OK, $14 trillion. Now let’s think of something really, really huge and complicated that we might want to spend some money on. The object is to try to think of a monstrously expensive project.

How about rebuilding Japan after the quake/tsunami? We have all seen the horrifying pictures and videos. Towns gone. Nuclear plants in danger. The whole island shifted 13 feet closer to our Pacific coast. Wreckage of lives and property as far as the eye can see, and beyond.

What could be more expensive than that — in our mind’s eye today — to have to write a check for? Well, as expensive as the current estimate is, it pales in comparison:

LONDON — Quake-hit Japan faces a recovery and reconstruction bill of at least $180 billion, or 3 percent of its annual economic output, or more than 50 percent higher than the total cost of 1995’s earthquake in Kobe.

Reuters, via Damage estimate for Japan quake is at $180B – Business – World business –

So, compare the cost of rebuilding after this horrible disaster, to our debt disaster:

14,000,000,000,000 compared to 181,000,000,000  which is 1.29% of our debt. That is, for LESS THAN 2 PERCENT OF OUR DEBT BALANCE, we can rebuild Japan. THAT is how big that number — the amount of our national debt — is.

Do you hear anyone in Washington talking seriously about reducing it?


About Gil Jones

CPA/Attorney/Judge by training and trade. Hobby nut at heart with BMW m/c, computers, ham radio, kayak fishing, photography, hiking and, starting in 2010 some semi-serious running and bicycling (road and mountain bikes). Retired after 16 years on a Texas District Court bench and since 2013 have been mediating cases. I am a Credentialed Distinguished mediator (TMCA).
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1 Response to Can you comprehend the size of U.S. debt?

  1. Pingback: U.S. National Debt: Where Did All The Money Go? [Infographic] | Care2 Causes

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