You Knew You’d Be Broke After Christmas, But This Bad?

 Facts About the National Debt

 If you received Big Red – The Official Calculator of the National Debt as a gift, it’s because someone wants you to take a good, up-close look at our national debt. Big Red has 16 digits; that’s how many digits are needed to display the national debt.


  • On Christmas morning 2009, the national debt will be an estimated 12 trillion, 17 billion, 633 million, 261 thousand, 594 dollars and 50 cents.  That’s $12,017,633,261,594.50.   So punch that number into the calculator and see how it looks to you.
  • If that’s not depressing enough, you can track the national debt daily by adding just $2.4 billion* to the debt each morning.  That’s how much more we – and our children – rack up in debt each and every day.
  • On Christmas morning, each child – even while they have sugarplums dancing in their heads – will owe about $39,341 in debt. Every other person in the room will owe this much, too, but unless we do something about the debt soon, it will be our children who will have to deal with it.
  • Right now, much of this debt is owed to ourselves, because the government simply borrows from the surpluses of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds to cover the debt. But we won’t have that option forever, because before long retiring baby boomers will start spending the surplus.  So we’ll have two new problems: We’ll have to find new places to borrow from, and we’ll have to pay back Social Security and Medicare.
  • Already we owe about $800 billion to China and $3.3 trillion (that’s trillion with a T) to other foreign countries, many of whom don’t share our interests. The more we owe to them, the more they have a say over us.
  • We now spend close to half a trillion dollars on interest alone to satisfy our existing debt.  In 2008, the latest year with numbers available, we spent $451 billion on interest.  The number has risen consistently the past several years.
  • These figures only take into account current debt. When you factor in all the future obligations we have (for which we have no plans to pay), we actually owe $56.4 trillion, or $184,000 per person, including each and every one of our children.