40 thoughts on “That Debt. Wow.

  1. Shaun Jackson

    WHo is the idiot that let us gain all this debt and why has it taken us so long to find out that our money has been going down the toilet? I also have to know who is getting rich off of us!

    oh if you really want to see where the goverment is sending the “money” check out this web site.

    oh I alsmot forgot what is the deal with the 59 trilloin dollars that is in the US unfunded liabilities??? What exactly do for the country?

  2. Ali Aenehzodaee

    Let’s clarify some stuff..
    (correct me if I’m wrong)

    The national debt (aka public debt) is the “amount of money owed by the federal government to holder’s of U.S. debt instruments.”
    While national deficit is the difference between government receipts and spending on a yearly basis. Making the deficit the “annual increase in debt”. So basically what we wish we were making on a yearly basis to stay on that attainable curve. Super. It is also noteworthy to mention that the US has only been debt free during Jackson’s presidency.


    So the GDP is roughly 9 trillion and the national debt is 11. From looking at some graphs it looks like a nice and friendly amount of debt in modern America is around 4-5(?). We are indebted more than double our GDP. What a mess. I don’t even know how to tackle that issue.

    Also, 11 tril in government bailouts? I assume this money is coming from some place besides the US treasury because it is the same amount as national debt. How does this work?

  3. Monica Peterson

    What I don’t understand is how we could have let this debt reach such a high number? I’m pretty sure that we’ve all known that our country was in a bad place in terms of money, yet we still spend so much and the number keeps rising…

    It is just unbelievable that we have been so caught up in everything else that we didn’t see what is happening to our economy before it was too late.

    I could be wrong but, don’t we have people who are supposed to keep track of this kind of thing… Where are they?

  4. Matthew Wong

    The national debt is rising, so the interest that we have to pay back is increasing. Would it increase so much, that we cannot even pay the interest to our debt? That would be horrible because the country would be in ruins. The taxes are going up, aren’t any of these going to paying off some of the debt, which is constantly rising?

  5. deanwebb Post author

    @Shaun: Excellent link. I’ll start using it. Especially on Halloween.

    @Ali: That GDP number is YTD, year to date. We’re at 2/3rds of the way through, so you can increase that GDP number by 50% for year-end figures. You can also increase the other YTD numbers by the same percentage…

    @Monica: The guys in charge of keeping an eye on things are also the ones that run for re-election. While state governments can’t go into debt for the most part, the USG can. While that’s a great thing in the case of emergencies, it’s questionable whether or not to do it in the case of normal living. Reagan ushered in the era of massive government debts, and both Bushes and Clinton sustained that practice. Obama had little choice but to carry on with them, given the state of the economy.

    @Matt: Check the link Shaun posted for how much per year we pay on interest. Find the interest rate the USG pays and then work with that to see where a 1% hike in interest rates puts us.

    Also, can’t pay off debt without first not going into deficit spending…

  6. Raphael Yohannes

    President Bush tried to sell the American people on the idea that we could have a war with little or no economic sacrifice. Even after the United States went to war, Bush and Congress cut taxes, especially on the rich — even though the United States already had a massive deficit. So the war had to be funded by more borrowing. By the end of the Bush administration, the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the cumulative interest on the increased borrowing used to fund them, will have added about $1 trillion to the national debt.

  7. chanel wan

    This may seem off or kind of random, but here it goes.

    I personally think that part of the reason why so many people are in debt are because so many people are unemployed and can not find work. Well instead of companies hiring illegal aliens to do the so called “dirty” jobs that no one wants, why not hire the American CITIZENS that are out of work and in dire of a set income? If companies began to do this the debt of the citizens would go down hopefully because they have the money to pay off of the debt that they have sitting versus just letting it grow.

    I’m sorry if that sounds dumb…

  8. Ali Aenehzodaee

    Mid-level corporation office jobs don’t hire illegal americans and require documentation. I would think that’s where most of the job losses are coming from. I would also think that there are still a decent amount of crap jobs available. There’s also the argument that these people are refugees and mexico’s economy is damaged ten-fold ours and human rights etc etc tangent tangent..

    American economy for the past 10 or so years has not been on a sustainable path. The market changes, a good example of this is real estate. It was a crazy seller’s market with sub prime mortgages and its projected to be a balancing buyer’s market.
    Capitalism in general fluctuates between good times and bad.

  9. Steven Fulbright

    This is just crazy. How the heck did our debt get this high? If u ask me, the most prudent thing to do right now would be to raise taxes. We could double them if we were trying to totally wipe out the debt, or we could raise them just enough to cap off the debt where it is and give us more time. Either way, just letting the debt continue to rise is going to lead us to economic ruin in the future.

  10. Diane Stout

    Steven: What about the people who can’t afford to double our taxes? I say we raise taxes for the rich, which will never happen because the rich run this country.

    Also, random idea…

    The cost to create some coins, like the penny, is greater than their net worth, why not discontinue the use of the penny. It’s not like it’s very useful. Then the U.S. government could do a massive recall, collect what ever money they get from the pennies and then use the metal to sell…

  11. Uchenna Anyiam

    Alot of people say that the main contributing factors to Obama’s success in running for president comes from the fact that he’s black and that pretty much all the African Americans in America voted for him. I’m not going to say that that wasn’t a major contributing factor, but you also have to take into concideration the fact that it was a republican that increased our debt to the point that we are now. Let me ask a question here. Why would you vote for another person from the same party as, and directly endorsed by, the person that got us into the hole we’re in today? Especially when you look at each party’s economic plans. Obama’s made so much sense. He held absolutely nothing back and showed everyone how everything was going to work. What did McCain do? Tell everyone that he was going to cut taxes. Where would that take the national debt? EVEN LOWER!!!

  12. Sarah Gibson

    Raising taxes may not be the smartest thing to do. If you raise taxes yes the country will get more money but in raising taxes the lower class people will start losing money and then lose jobs and homes in which they can’t pay taxes putting the debt higher.

    If you want to double taxes do it to the rich people who don’t lose sleep over paying the tax. Leave the lower class with a less tax so the people can maintain their jobs and homes, and will be able to pay a lower tax.

    Another down fall to raising taxes is the government may use the money for other usages other then lowering the national debt. Putting the national debt even higher.

  13. Uchenna Anyiam

    Yes, sorry, I meant rising taxes for the higher classes, as opposed to lowering taxes for them, like Bush and Mcain wanted to do.

  14. Sagar Patel

    I found this kind of interesting…
    The first time the U.S. was in debt was in 1790 and the debt has been increasing ever since! The debt has increased as a result of inflation and recession

  15. Sagar Patel

    I need the points so I’m going to do another post. We all know that the U.S. is one of the ‘high rollers’ in the world. We claim ourselves to be one of the big powers and that is where we spend a lot of our money; trying to maintain our position as a world power.

    A lot of the money is also spent by senators. They spend so much money trying to maintain their position so they campaign like CRAZY! They worry about themselves rather than a nation as a whole

  16. deanwebb Post author

    Raising taxes… what does that do in the middle of a recession? It’s not a good thing, as it basically counters the spending the government spent to stimulate the economy. If the economy restarts, we can get back on sounder footing. If not, then we’ll be less able to pay back any debt.

  17. Katie Wilson

    It almost feels like the whole world is just playing with monopoly money or something. Everyone owes everyone else sooo much money, and it makes me wonder how much money countries would actually have if everybody paid all their debts. I know this would never ever happen because it’s completely ridiculous, but what if the world just decided to start over on everyone’s economies? Consider everyone’s debts paid, and base how much money each country has off of their resources and stuff… just a thought.

  18. Shaun Jackson

    Is there any possible way to get rid of most of the debt before i die? if there is not that would completely suck.

  19. Diane Stout

    I like Katie’s idea, but instead of deleting all of the debt’s why not cut in half of something.

    Did anyone see that G20, has agreed to impose tougher restrictions on the banks… wow, a little late guys… it seems though like they haven’t really agreed on anything.


  20. Chanel Wan

    the world is in function because someone has to be in debt in order to be making money for the mother county.

    having debt makes the world go round, it is what makes the world’s economy what it is. Although right now it is not at its top of its game, it is still what makes our trade between the major countries work. There wouldn’t be an economy if there wasn’t any debt, we need debt to function.

    We don’t need the debt to be as great as it is right now, I don’t think we should cut the debt in half sorry diane, but at least try to tame it a little, by watching what our government tax money goes to and what it funds.

  21. deanwebb Post author

    Debt does make the world go ’round, but is that the way we want things to be? Without government debt, we have far less available to us based on our tax revenues. We’d have to cut way way back.

    But Matt’s numbers are telling: if we don’t cut back, small moves in interest rates will take out huge amounts of our budget FOR us. We can either balance a budget by cutting out debt, or we can have debt balance the budget for us when our nation reaches its borrowing limit. The first option, though tougher, is the better one in the long run.

  22. Camille Carson

    I know I’m really late on this, but oh well.

    I really like Katie’s idea about basing how much money each country has off of their own resources. I just wish it wasn’t so unrealistic. 🙁

    And how and by when is it expected that are we going to get rid of all of this debt?
    Or atleast shape things up to where we can lower unemployment?


  23. chanel wan

    so are you saying that my idea is better than matt’s? or that in general we are effed over? i am kind of confused on what you just said…

  24. deanwebb Post author

    There are two ways out of the debt that don’t involve paying it back. One is to default completely. That’s not gonna happen if the USG can help it. The other way is to monetize the debt: since the debt is in dollars, if there’s lots of inflation, the USG can pay back with dollars that have less real value than the ones borrowed.


  25. Chanel Wan

    oh ok, that works, but wouldn’t the U.S get effed over more if they pay with money that is worth alot less than when it was borrowed?

  26. Matt Wilson

    A thought occurs. The United States Debt alone is approaching 12 trillion. Thats alot from just 1 place. Now what if we were to add the rest of the debt in the world and make a grand total. Now that we have got this total, is their enuff money in the world to pay it off, or does the worlds debt exceed that of its profit? Can the situation i just mentioned ever happen? Or is it happening now? Is the world in debt to itself? For example, let say America owes China a sum of money, but China owes Korea, and Korea owes America. Are we all just living in a pool of debt? Or is there hope?

  27. Katie Wilson

    Isn’t that like what happened after one of the world wars? Where the British owed the U.S. money, the Germans owed the British money, and the U.S. owed the Germans money or something like that…?

  28. chanel wan

    that is what happened after both world wars, and it doesnt help that america thinks that we should be the first people to aid other countries while they are in turmoil. it is stupid and ignorant of our so called leaders to make us seem like the mother Tressa of the world.

  29. Shaun Jackson

    So all this debt is imaginary which includes money???? because money has no value unless we believe it does.

    I dont like that at all! This is the reason I prefer the bartering system!!!

    Stupid imaginary money!!

  30. David Liou

    But if there is a lot of inflation everyone in the world will be effed, and we might as well go back to the bartering system. If even inflation occurs that we can monetize our debt, the US dollar would basically be useless and thus we might as well default. In the end there is no easy way out and since the government is never going to be practical they will only delay the inevitable fate of the crash of the US/Global economy.

  31. Chanel Wan

    i found this chart in this website to be very helpful…

    it is somewhat like the clock that you have been showing us in class. There are a lot of different charts on it, but alot of them seem to make sense with the things you are teaching us.

  32. Katie Wilson

    I sort of disagree with you, Chanel. I think that if another country is in need and we have the ability to help out, then we should. If it’s going to completely destroy our economy, then we shouldn’t, but as a major world power with a high standard of living, we shouldn’t feel comfortable sitting back and doing nothing to help the rest of the world out. If that can all be done through non-governmental organizations, then that’s fine, but if it can’t, then our government should do something.

  33. Hugo Espiritu

    If you think about it causing inflation to rise is a good way to pay back debt. But can’t countries asked to be payed in hard assets like precious metals instead of inflated currency?

  34. deanwebb Post author

    @Hugo: It’s not a good way. It’s a clever way. In order to demand assets other than currency, the currency itself would have to be backed by those assets. If it’s not backed by the assets, well… you’re at the mercy of the printing presses of that country. It’s what’s known as currency risk.

    As for helping out other countries goes, we shouldn’t have to borrow to do it and we shouldn’t offer help in such a way that the country owes us massive favors for it – the US typically requires recipients of US aid to do things most countries would find unpleasant, but that discussion is for another thread.

  35. Hugo Espiritu

    I think the most valuable thing countries look for to be payed back for their help, even more valuable than financial compensation, is a favor. A financial compensation is only worth the dollar amount that is put on it, a favor is priceless.

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