March 4 2010|09.06 AM UTC

Stan Reybern

Visualizing America’s National Debt

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An issue that concerns many Americans is the national debt. We know it’s huge, but many people don’t know much more than that. Who does the US owe, how much and for what? And will we ever be able to pay it all back? This graphic look at America’s national debt breaks it all down.

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Visualizing America's National Debt

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

hardtoswallow March 4, 2010 at 11:42 pm



nathan tankus March 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm

doesn’t worry me: except for the part about private debt. can someone please explain to me what the significant difference is between a government security paying zero nominal interest ( aka dollar bills) and a government security paying a few percentage points nominal interest denominated in the former? until someone gives me a convincing explanation of why those things are so significantly different and why it will have such a negative effect, i’m going to continue wanting much larger deficits.


IAIresearch March 12, 2010 at 11:05 am

The only way to stop wasteful spending, and its eventual debilitating taxation, is to starve the government machine. Yet our founders envisioned even this occurrence in Article V of the Constitution: “Congress … on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, …” The only solution is to amend with

1. Except in time of declared war against a foreign enemy, the federal government shall balance its budget. Further, the total cash expenditures of the federal government shall not exceed eighteen percent (18%) of the prior year’s gross domestic product.

2. Included in budget expenditures will be a 3% annual payment to retire the national debt.

3. Any increase in taxes or other sources of revenue shall require a 2/3 vote of each chamber of Congress.

4. No unfunded mandates or requirements shall be placed on state or local governments.

Please share with others.


Terry Gleaon May 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm

When a company is having financial difficulty, they make provisions to reduce the rate of spending, and most often, it is accomplished by freezing salaries, salary reductions, and finally “layoffs” of the common employees. The common employee does not earn as much in a year as a politician does in a month and politicians never suffer from a layoff.
If America can be described as a “company” and the politicians as the employees, the most logical way to reduce so much “company” debt would be to LAYOFF some of those politicians who are receiving yearly salaries that are higher than the common population could ever hope to experience. Then, adding insult to injury, we consider the retirement plans and benefit packages the politicians put in place for themselves and what do we find??? Our financial debt is caused from within our own government machine because the politicians have written themselves into very wealthy situations. Hey, here’s and idea …. let’s just pay them for the work they do, and if the work they do is substandard, fire them. What a simple concept. It comes from a simple minded person who has to be concerned over whether the government will choose to reduce my retirement benefits, which amount to pennies when compared to their retirement benefits, so they can use the money for more important issues. What is more important than the citizens of America? I just don’t understand why my vote is so important but my voice is not.


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Jenny Edwards February 21, 2012 at 9:50 am

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