"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, July 29, 2011

Imagining $14.3 Trillion in Debt

This guy does a pretty good job.   But the fact is that the amount of national debt, even if it were reasonable, would still dwarf planes and buildings, etc., because we're a big country.   300 million people can handle a lot of debt.   The real problem is imagining the debt we have now, not as a gross debt that dwarfs the Empire State Building, but the debt per taxpayer that dwarfs what we owe on our cars, our college loans, our houses.   As everyone ought to know, the real taxpayers (the top 10% who pay more than 70% of the income taxes) are the people who really "owe" the national debt, just like it's me who owes money we've committed to pay for my son's Catholic boys high school, not my son (who doesn't have any income).   Those top 10% (and that's just of the 140 million or so filers) are the real "debtors" who are going to have to pay the vigorish to the Chinese someday.   So there are about 14 million of us who are going to have to pay off the $14 trillion in national debt.   Now we're talking.... that's about $1 million per taxpayer in that upper income group.

Put it that way and it really does sound scary big.

1 comment:

  1. The $14 trillion is mostly ($12.2 trillion) borrowed during Republican administrations to finance tax cuts for the rich. The top 1% (concentrated in a small group within the top .1%) has taken over $10 trillion of wealth from the lower 99%, over a 30-year period.
    This group continues to remove wealth from rest of Americans (through banking and commerce) and require the bottom 99% to pay for government and for the interest on the national debt (much of which they are receiving, as they possess most of the wealth).
    In effect, a "Ponzi scheme," with taxpayer dollars the source funds, instead of investment funds.