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The National Debt: 7 Different Ways to Visualize How Big it Is Print E-mail
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Personal Finance - Taxes
Written by Omie Ismail   
Tuesday, 02 March 2010 02:54
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The National Debt: 7 Different Ways to Visualize How Big it Is
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One of the key problems with coming to terms with our huge national debt - which is now over  $12 Burjtrillion dollars - is that most people can't fathom it. A trillion is such a big number that nobody can really get their arms around it. And we have 12 of those trillions in debt.  Here are 7 ways of visualizing the national debt to give you insight into how obscenely large it is.

The New York State Quilt

Let's say you decide to take a bunch of dollar bills equal to our national debt and create a giant quilt from them. If yNew_Yorkou laid the dollar bills side by side you would be able to cover every inch of land in the State of New York. If you enlisted all of the 20 million inhabitants of the Empire State to help you, collectively it would take about a month to finish the job. When finished, you could present each of them with a $500,000 check for all their hard work and still have two trillion left over.

If you then carted this money off to Washington DC to present to Congress to pay our bill in full, it would cover the ground in 6 inches of dollar bills over the entire District.

A House Full of Debt

Assume for a minute that you are really good at saving money and want to help Uncle Sam out with his debt problem. As a upstanding resident of Peoria, Illinois you decide to ask your fellow citizens for a daily donation to reduce the debt. Every day you collect those donations and stash them in your house. You're so talented at the business of soliciting donations that you manage to away $10,000 a day for your government relief fund. After 88 years of saving, you fill every inch of your house with dollar bills all the way to the ceiling. At that point, you call up the Treasury Department and tell them that you want to help out by giving up the keys to your "Money House." The Treasury Secretary shrugs his shoulders and tells you that while he appreciates your kind gesture, you need to do more for your country. Because the only way to pay off the national debt, is to get every other household in Peoria to do the same thing for 88 years. 

A Mountain of Debt?

If you took dollar bills equal to our national debt and stacked them on top of each other, you would create the world's tallest mountain. Actually, a mountain would look like an ant hill in comparison to your debt fueled one. Stacked as one dollar bills on top of another, our debt would equal a stunning 230 thousand Mt. Everests! .

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