The National Debt Never Sleeps—and Neither Should You
CNBC.com News Editor
If you’re sleeping too soundly at night, have I got the remedy for you!
The running tally of the national debt is now online at USDebtClock.org, a site that is sure to fry your brain with — not just the sheer size of the debt, but — 38 other moving numbers, including debt per citizen and total spent on the bailout.
At last check, the debt was at more than $11.6 trillion, the debt per citizen was around $38,000 and the total spent on the bailout was more than $11.8 trillion.
With spending like that, you’d think we were a bunch of Goldman Sachs wives!
“At the rate those numbers are moving, I think we need a new energy bill that funds research into a source of renewable energy for the Federal Reserve's printing press,” quipped Alyx Kaczuwka, author of the blog LOLFed.com.
It comes just in the nick of time, too: Remember that the famous debt clock in Times Square, created by the Durst Organization, was briefly taken down this past fall because it ran out of room when the debt hit $10 trillion. It was one digit short. Durst came up with a quick fix: Turn the digital dollar sign into an extra digit and slap on a dollar-sign sticker.
Of course, that’s not going to help us when the debt reaches $99.99 trillion. At this rate, there’s only one place big enough for the national debt: The Internet.
On the Internet, you can have the national debt at your disposal, any time of the day or night — not just when you go to see a “show” in Times Square.
You can wake up and say, “Good morning, $11 trillion national debt!”
You can sneak a peek at work.
You can check it on your BlackBerry while you’re at dinner.
And you can kiss the debt goodnight before you go to bed.
Just close your eyes and imagine, as the numbers cascade down, the money for your kids’ education or that new Harley slipping through your fingers.
“I think people who are disturbed by the National Debt Clock are looking at it the wrong way,” said Joshua Brown, VP of investments at Westrock Advisors and the author of the blog TheReformedBroker.com. “I like to pretend it’s a giant slot machine and that I’m sitting in front of it with a bucket of quarters.”
“Try to drown out all other sound and listen for the incessant DingDingDingDing,” Brown suggested. “This will help you forget the fact that you’re basically looking at the world’s largest credit card bill and that all of our names are on it.”
The Times Square clock was created by the late Seymour Durst in 1989 to call attention to the rising national debt under President Reagan.
This online clock, which is separate from the Times Square clock as well the Treasury Department's debt clock, was created by a group that says it is "nonpartisan" but wouldn't comment for this article because it likes to maintain the anonymity of its members "to distance ourselves from outside influence or political pressure."
And they sign their "about" page "... and God Bless America."
Since we’re talking about numbers, it’s worth mentioning that the online version is far more cost effective: It cost $120,000 to create and install the Times Square clock, and $500 a month for the electricity used to power it. By contrast, it costs, what, 60 bucks a year for a Web site?
Plus, the Internet offers you the chance to be friends with the debt clock. Oh yeah, it has a Facebook group, too. Already, 74 people are members of debt-clock club.
You know the first rule of Debt Clock Club: You don’t talk about Debt Clock Club.
You just bitch about the debt.
Or, you can declare yourself a "Fan" of the National Debt.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
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