I get confused by micro economics. When it comes to macro economics, my ears bleed. Still, it seems a simple guy like me knows more than the average politician: debt isn’t good. But since 1791 America has had a debt. Back then it was a cute little $75M (which to them probably seemed ridiculous). But today our debt grows by an astounding $3.75B a day. That’s right, a day.
Now, we could get out of debt quickly. We just need every single citizen (and those here illegally could help out, too) to pay their share – a miserable $35,959. Are you in? Now for me, with a family of 5, I need only pay $179,795. I have the check written and am just wondering where to send it. :) That poor lady who just had the octuplets – she’ll need to sell more books.
Honestly, my stomach hurts over the whole matter. We’re either going to print money to “pay” our way out of this, go to war, or forfeit. Are there other options? We certainly can’t afford to actually PAY our debt. And I don’t think we can just walk away from our house like many homeowners are choosing these days. The numbers defy imagination.
Below, I have put together a simple chart from government data here (http://tinyurl.com/3xjc7y) to see just how silly this mess really is. I’ve bracketed presidencies so we can do some blaming and name calling. That should help us feel better for a period. Meanwhile, our debt has increased about $100M while you were reading this – unless you are a speed reader, then it’s more like $50M.
So, give credit where credit is due. Of the past four presidents (not counting spend-happy Obama) the three republicans have been terrible. I give Reagan a pass, he ended the cold war with crazy spending. I give George Bush a pass, he had Reagan’s spending to curb. Bill Clinton had a pretty nice economy to swim in – and holds the best record of the four. But George W. Bush somehow has managed to more than double our debt to a whopping $10 trillion dollars in 8 short years. Can you imagine? Why haven’t we stormed the capital and burned it down yet?
To me, President Obama doesn’t offer much hope here. His Keynesian economics will spend us out of this recession. Will it work? It’s too late to ask that. He’s there and we’re going to see. It’s a real science experiment. The resulting debt might rival Bush. I hope not. I hope it all works. I hope we are successful. I hope we recover. I hope we kill the deficit. I hope we pay down the debt. But, seriously.
I see now that we probably should have elected Ross Perot when we actually had a chance. His nerd-like approach to economics might have been a good jolt of medicine to America. When he said “hear that big sucking sound? that’s American jobs going overseas” he was more prophetic than any of us would want to really admit now. But the charts… oh man, he needed a publicist.
Seriously, where do I send my check?