Visualizing the U.S. debt so that even a liberal can understand it
As I write this at 9:00 a.m. central time on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, the U.S. Federal Debt stands at $17,315,591,424,039 — over $17 TRILLION.
During George W. Bush’s eight years in the White House, the debt soared by $4.9 trillion — which is bad enough — but it is has already increased roughly $6.7 trillion in President Obama’s first five years in office.
But we have a hard time wrapping our heads around just how much money that is. At some point — probably somewhere in the hundred million range — everything just sounds like “giant mountain of cash.”
So how much money is $17 trillion?
The Heritage Foundation released an interesting graphic this morning to help us understand.
For a little bit more context, here’s what $1 trillion dollars would look like if it were stacked up in $100 bills. (click image to enlarge)
Last year, when the debt was a measly $16.3 trillion, the fine folks at Demonacracy put together this stunning visualization of what the entire U.S. debt would look like stacked up in $100 bills. (click image to enlarge)
Now let’s go on a little “Debt Road Trip.” The highly recommended Political Math Blog released this excellent short video back in 2012, comparing the increase in debt to a road trip across the United States.
Now, the following video is from 2009, but I think it helps us even better understand what D.C. politicians are really talking about when they crank up the rhetoric about cutting spending. It’ll make your head explode.
So, next time Nancy Pelosi says something brilliant like this:
The cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make. It’s really important that people understand that.
…remember this post. In the mean time, share it with everyone you know.
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims