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U.S. debt takes on whole new meaning

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

The 5-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl discussed important historical issues on the way home from school last week.

The little boy said the greatest person ever was George Washington. The little girl said what about the Founding Fathers.

The little boy said, "Well, actually, the greatest would be George Washington, the Founding Fathers and Jesus."

The little girl then said, "Well, what about the Founding Mothers? Nobody ever talks about the Founding Mothers. Aren't they important, too?"

The little boy responded, "They only did a little bit, not a lot like George Washington, right, Daddy?" He then continued to dig his hole further toward China by saying, "You know, they were just a little important, not big important, like the Founding Fathers."

The little girl then kicked him in the shins and said, "We wouldn't have any Founding Fathers if it weren't for the Founding Mothers."

I have a sinking feeling this war will continue long after I am dead and gone.

So, speaking of Founding Fathers, I think they would all perform a synchronized rollover in the grave if they knew we now have a $12.83 trillion national debt. Yep, $12.83 trillion. I remember the good ol' days when a few billion dollars caused concern. It took 222 years to reach $4 trillion in debt and Obama only 1.4 more years to add $8.83 trillion.

I don't think anyone can even comprehend what a trillion dollars is, but let's try.

Let's say you wish to save a trillion dollars. To collect $1 trillion, you would need to receive $186,000 per second, every second, for two months; $11,860,000 every minute for two months. You would need to collect $66 million dollars plus change every hour for two months. You must collect $16 billion plus change every day for two months. That's right, over $16 billion dollars a day for two straight months to collect a trillion dollars.

Now, if you wish to reach a trillion dollars in only one month you will need to collect $32 billion dollars plus change a day every day for one month. To reach $12 trillion dollars, you will need to collect $384 billion dollars a day every day for one month.

Thus, it would take $384,000 dollars per every man, woman, and child per day to pay the debt in a month. It would take approximately $1,100 dollars per day every day for one year from every man, woman and child to pay it in a year.

Of course, the only people paying are the grown adults so we can strike approximately half the population as being either too elderly or children. But also remember, the country now is divided such that only about half the people in the country pay any taxes at all. So you can increase the pay load to $4,400 dollars per day for every taxpayer in America to pay the debt in one year.

I realize no one will pay the debt that quickly, so let's say it takes 10 years. In that case, you need only pay $440 dollars per day, every day, for 10 consecutive years to pay the debt.

Just so you will understand how hopeless this really is, $440 dollars a day equals $160,600 per year every year for 10 years to simply pay down the debt if no interest accumulated on the debt. Additional payments are needed to pay the day-to-day bills of the country.

If you think these figures are unrealistic, you are right. The actual numbers are much worse. I have rounded off all of the figures for easy computation. I have not included any interest. In short, the debt we now have is unsustainable, unpayable, and will simply bankrupt the country.

Ben Franklin said, "A penny saved is penny earned." He also said, "A fool and his money soon part."

Guess which one is the USA.

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.