How Big is a Trillion? (or the Immorality of Leaving such an Enormous National Debt for our Children to Pay)

» Rad Note: This entry originated in a previous post titled » How Big is the Universe?

When I arrived at the part where I discuss ways to conceptualize the size of the number TRILLION, I found myself detouring off into the theme you find discussed here .. namely that of the ENORMITY & IMMORALITY of our national public debt.

United States National Public Debt as of November 12, 2011Surely you see the connection. Once started tho, it became difficult to stop. But since this topic is so different from the original, I cut and re-posted it here, in its own separate entry.

Ideally, I would love for readers to read both entries together (.. the way I wrote them). But I realize that may be asking a bit much.

Here's the part that deals specifically with comprehending the enormity of a TRILLION, and therefore that of our national public debt, along with a discussion on the immorality of leaving such an enormous debt for our children to pay.

Spiral Galaxy» How Big is a Trillion?

Now we're gonna start using big numbers. So let's try to get some perspective.

How long would it take to COUNT to a MILLION, using the 1-Mississippi rate of 1-number-per-second?

Answer » 11 days (+ 13 hours, 46 minutes).

How long would it take to count to a BILLION?

Answer » 31 years (+ 8 months).

In other words, this is a huge number, but we can still deal with it .. cuz most of us can conceptualize 31 years. [ 31 years ago was 1980, back when Jimmy Carter was President. ]

Jimmy Carter, 39th POTUS, 1977-1981How long would it take to count to a TRILLION?

Answer » 31,000 years. This number is so big that our minds have trouble dealing with it.

If we go back all the way to the time the paintings were made in the caves at Lascaux, we're only HALF way there (.. half way to 31,000 years ago).

Not that the transition .. from 11 days to 31 years is exactly what I would call a baby step .. but uh, have you noticed how Trillion-with-a-T seems to take off with a life of its own? .. leaving Billion-with-a-B far behind in its dust.

Think about those caves at Lascaux the next time you hear somebody mention our national debt, or watch it tick over to another "trill," which it looks like it will be doing here very shortly. Think about those paintings when you hear reports that our government wants again to increase the nation's borrowing limit. Those wall paintings done (by our ancestors) so long ago.

Every member of congress should be required to mount a debt clock prominently on the wall of their office .. surrounded by pictures of young kids .. the ones who will be required to pay it back.

ChildrenShameful how they continue to saddle our kid's future with this kind of debt .. for political advantage. (We are the biggest debtor nation in the history of the planet.)

In other words, if we balanced our budget tomorrow .. and started paying down our debt .. at a rate of $1-per-second .. it would take (are ya ready?) » 500,000 years .. to pay it off.

That's » FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND (.. in the year 502011).

Five-hundred-thousand years is clearly a period of time beyond the ability of the human mind to grasp .. seeing most of us humans dont even live to see ONE thousand years.

This all assuming, of course, that no interest accrues over the next 500 millennia. Only problem is .. the budget isnt even close to being balanced. Neither will it any time soon.

Put another way .. say we paid $1,000 dollars (one thousand) .. every second. It would still take 500 years to pay off our debt.

Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door at Wittenberg cathedral in 1517Let's see .. 500 years .. hmm, that would take us back to the time when Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at the Castle church in Wittenberg.

Anybody remember those days? How about your grandfather? Does he remember Luther? How about your Great Aunt Edna? No? Didnt think so.

One thousand dollars every second .. from then 'til now. Somebody please tell me I made a math error somewhere.

Oh wait! I *did* make an error. (Thanks, Dawg.) My calculation takes into account only ONE $Trillion. But we owe FIFTEEN. =)

Silly me. What was I thinking? It's actully much worse than I thought.

Does not this mind-boggling level of debt seem downright » immoral?

Stop. Count to three. Reread last sentence. (Key word in bold font.)

Cave Painting at Lascaux FranceClearly something is not right. Cant you feel it? Down in your bones? Intuitively.

I feel the need to speak out for those who are not yet old enough to VOTE .. however futile (feudal) my protest might seem.

Lots of people talking about the effects of "class warfare" .. but nobody seems to be talking about generational warfare. Our generation robbing theirs. Living large and putting it on their tab.

••• today's entry continues here below •••

All you have to do is » look at the DEBT .. that has piled up .. and which continues to accumulate .. at a mind-boggling rate.

Seems our government has no intention of paying down the DEBT they've accumulated (for our kids) .. seeing they cant even agree to balance the budget and stop us from going further into debt.

United States National Public Debt as of November 12, 2011Or am I missing something? (Such as secret debt payments that I dont know about.)

At the very least, future generations will be required to pay the interest on our debt. (Thank-you very much.)

And these abnormally low rates are unlikely to last forever .. especially if we keep borrowing & printing like the dysfunctional, self-seeking & corrupt system our government has become.

I want to stand outside their offices, in the hallway there (.. which hopefully has some echo chamber qualities) .. and I want to say (.. in a tone that conveys the aggregate pissed-off'ed-ness of the entire country):

Capitol building Washington D.C.<channeling on>

Excuse me. Ladies & gentlemen. Excuse me!

Uh .. we really wish you would all get your shit together. Cuz you're ruining our country.

By the way, what is that smell? Something smells rotten in here. Dont you smell that nasty odor? Where is it coming from?

Anyway, we'd appreciate it if you would say good-bye to your lobbyist-friends and get down to business fixing our nation. Cuz unfortunately, it's the only one we have.


Oh .. one more thing .. if you dont mind .. and it's unfortunate I should even have to mention this .. but uh, voting to give yourself insider-trading rights .. while - AT THE SAME TIME - making it a CRIME for others .. uh, no .. that is SO not cool. Any 1st-grader can see.

But nobody can see it more clearly than the guy (or lady) sitting up in the jail-cell (as we speak) .. for doing what you do .. as a matter of course. Do you not see the hypocrisy in that position?

To say, 'We can do it. But uh, if YOU do, you go to jail.' Is that how your mommas raised you? The word decency mean anything?

Or it that just how you boys roll up in here? .. in da hoouuse.

Good topic for study in a college Ethics class. Law school, too. Maybe some of you guys could drop in and explain your side of the position.

Yeah, you're working for us. Right. We see how that works.

Are you all not incredibly embarrassed? How can you not be? Is it really that bad? Even denial has limitations.

Cuz, if you're not at least embarrassed, that would say bad things about this place. Very unflattering things. Are ya feelin' me?

Cant help but think the Founding fathers would a tad disappointed with your moral compass.

And frankly, we're losing hope .. in your ability to right the ship. Many of us find ourselves in desperate straits .. with little encouragement to be found.

Others have started calling Mayday. Have you heard their cries? Of a system that favors the wealthy. That the wealthy own you. That they buy your votes. Or have you already tuned them out?

Is money really more important to you than people? What are your priorities?

We hear life is pretty sweet for those who happen to live anywhere near either Wall St. or Pennsylvania Ave. Is that true?

And is it true you've started torturing people? That would be sad. Have you really become one of them? You are our voice and you've become one of them?

Is this the beginning of the end? Cuz it certainly feels that way.

If you keep f*cking it up, it wont matter whether you're a Republican or a Democrat .. cuz the whole country will be flushed down the toilet.

So please, pretty please, with sugar on top, get your collective shit together. And knock off the self-serving bullshit.

If that's something you cant do, then please go home .. so we can elect someone who can.

Thank-you. Have a nice day."

Maybe the message here is that » unless one abandons his or her morals, they have no hope of success in our government. Has our system of government deteriorated to the point where only the unscrupulous can navigate? Is that the US$64T question?

Broken plateCuz .. if that's the way the system works, then the system is obviously broken.

Our elected leaders should have but ONE special interest group » the American people.

Yet it seems, soon as the elections are over, we quickly move to the BOTTOM of their list of priorities. And too often we're the ones left holding the bag (.. containing all the debts they run up).

Politicians love to stand up and declare what "The American people want..." (.. as if they would know). Well, let me tell you what the American people want.

"We want you to get your shit together and stop putting the interests of the wealthy few ahead of us. We want you to get out of bed with them, get dressed and go to work for us and for our children."

Calendar December 2012Is it true Senators have a Mayan calendar posted on the walls of their offices? .. with the year 2012 circled in red? Maybe they're planning a party. =)

But seriously, it seems obvious that .. with the "magic" of compounding interest .. time is NOT something we want working against us.

The reason they call it "magic" .. is cuz time is relentless. And the more debt we accumulate, the harder against us it works. Eventually the Magic Man will hunt down our debtor-ass and send our borrowed saddle home. Because everybody agrees this is unsustainable.

It has become obvious these past few years (painfully obvious for most of us) that » Debt-Driven Growth (DDG) is a flawed business model. You cant borrow your way to prosperity. The bigger the monster gets, the more he eats.

Even in good times, when the economy is thriving, DEBT is something our leaders cant seem to live without. Ergo the monster groweth. Maybe this is why it feels like our nation is hemorrhaging.

Crack pipeMore debt is not the answer to solve the problems created by too much debt.

(Does the notion that more debt is the answer to solve the problems created by too much debt .. does this not sound frighteningly similar to something you might expect to hear coming from the mouth of a CRACK-HEAD?)

Speaking of voting .. why are our choices in the booth almost always between bad & worse? And why do politicians rarely do any of the wonderful-sounding things they preach about while campaigning? Is it because they are only interested in getting elected and once in office, re-elected?

The children of politicians are gonna be fine .. no matter how badly into debt their parents plunge our nation, and no matter which way the economic winds blow. Ever heard of a Senator who couldnt afford to send his kids to the finest schools? Me neither. Maybe that's why they seem to care more about their buddies on Wall Street than the average American citizen. Far more.

But what if you're not too big to fail? .. or otherwise connected?

Why does the downside of Capitalism not apply to them? (They who most vociferously & ardently extol its virtues.) How come the downside applies only to us?

Maybe it's just me, but does that not seem a bit .. uh, hypocritical? (I was really trying not to use the H-word here.) You gotta admit, tho .. it does feel slimy.

Otherwise we're no longer talking about 'Capitalism'. (Not sure what you would call it, but it sure aint Capitalism.)

Marie Antoiette Marie said (.. according to Rousseau) » "Let them eat cake."

Our populist retort » "Let them fail" (.. especially when the foolish financial gambles of your friends on Wall Street are linked to the CAUSE of the problem).

Otherwise we only encourage more of the same .. more folly. And we reward mere SIZE, in spite of their financial folly.

Whether or not those words actually came out of Miss Marie's mouth is not the issue. Cuz the sentiment is what applies here. In other words, we get the feeling that our leaders really dont get it .. that they're out of touch .. cuz they live up in their political Ivory Towers .. eating steak-n-lobster every night (.. on our dime, no less).

God forbid we should let members of our National Glutton$ Society faint from hunger. Maybe they should be sent to us .. so we can teach them how to live on a diet .. of financial rice-n-beans.

United States Debt to GDPAnd I bet the "catastrophic economic collapse" they prophesy (.. as their reason for requiring such a massive infu$ion of public funds) .. I bet it would affect THEM far more than it would US. (Unlike the situation we have now.)

[ Here's an epiphany I guarantee your average CEO never had » with enough water, most any meal can be made into soup. ]

So I say » Next time the corporate crack-heads need another 'fix' from the public till (.. and we all know there will most assuredly be another Next Time), we call their bluff.

Crack-heads are sick people. They will use any means necessary (lie, cheat, steal) to supply their habit .. no matter how much pain & suffering it might cause their family & friends (our nation).

These crack-heads have habits far more expen$ive than that of your run-of-the-mill junkie .. they're politically connected, and they're masters at manipulating the system.

Crony capitalism is not capitalism. It's cronyism. If they're Too Big Too Fail .. then they're TOO BIG. ■

Gladiator in Roman ColosseumSorry. Got carried away there. The T-word seems to have sent me into National-Debt orbit. I've returned.

But I'll not take it back. It's all true and you know it .. sad as that might be .. the state to which our government has deteriorated, and the implications this holds for our nation. In debt we trust.

Feels like the wheels are starting to come off.

Cant you feel the wobble? Wunga, wunga. Like a washing machine during an unbalanced spin cycle.

Almost makes me wanna drive down to the local Ralphs grocery store and buy a 20-lb bag of rice, some dried beans and a case of water .. just in case.

Occupy Wall Street vs NYPD at New York Stock ExchangeHere are some of the causes listed for the Fall of the Roman Empire. (Do they not seem eerily famliar?)

Maybe it's true .. that we really cant afford to wage multiple, decade-long wars on distant foreign soil. (And what ever happened to » Thou Shalt Not Kill?)

While it might be profitable for the corporations who manufacture bombs and other weapons, I cant imagine our kids are going to appreciate paying off that expense .. of blowing up stuff on the other side of the planet.

Does not the wisdom of Washington seems increasingly pointless?

Anyway .. let's return to the beauty of » our Universe .. where things are more orderly. No corrupt politicians out there.

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » enormity and generational immorality of united states public debt

Radified home

UPDATE (posted February 12, 2012) - I posted a follow-up entry that could be considered a related topic .. see here » Using Hitchcock's Notorious KEY Shot to Focus on Political Palms (posted December 30, 2011)

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rad published on November 11, 2011 11:11 AM.

How Big is the Universe? was the previous entry in this blog.

Photos from the New Digs is the next entry in this blog.

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