What the U.S. Debt Looks Like to the Smith Family



by Dave Miller

How big are the cuts? How big is our debt problem? Here are the numbers. But they are bigger than our feeble minds can comprehend.

  • U.S. income: $2,170,000,000,000
  • Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
  • New debt: $1,650,000,000,000
  • National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
  • April budget cuts that averted a partial government shutdown: $38,500,000,000 (about 1% of the budget)

Let’s eliminate a bunch of zeros to help our little minds grasp these dollars.

It helps to think about these numbers terms that we can relate to. We will remove eight zeros from the numbers above and pretend this is budget for the fictitious Smith household.

  • Total annual income for the Smith family: $21,700
  • Amount of money the Smith family spent: $38,200
  • Amount of new debt added to the credit card: $16,500
  • Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
  • Amount cut from the budget: $385

Now I can understand why the S&P cut the credit ratings on US debt. If I were the Smith’s credit card company I would be doing more than cutting their ratings. I’d be cutting their credit card in two.

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Published in: on August 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm  Comments (1)  
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