Archived Story

Adding up the national debt

Published 10:15pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I worry that many people do not comprehend the magnitude of our national debt.

Does $16 trillion, as printed in the media, have any real meaning? How about $16,045,678,692,730.63? That, according to the website, was our debt as of Sept. 13, 2012. To put this number in perspective, consider this comparison.

Each day contains 86,400 seconds (60 seconds per minute times 60 minutes per hour times 24 hours per day). Multiply this number by 365.25 (number of days per year) and you get 31,557,600 seconds each year. If you divide the number 16,045,678,692,730.63 by 31,577,600, you will get an answer more than 500,000.
Our national debt, as a number of seconds, is more than 500,000 years. Putting it in terms of money, if you were to spend $1 per second, $86,400 per day, $31,577,600 per year, it would take more than 500,000 years to reach our debt as a nation.

I believe the human race is considered to be about 200,000 years old. Do the math yourself, but keep in mind that many calculators won’t even let you enter the number 16,045,678,692,730.63; they are not programmed for numbers that big.

Norman Guentert


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