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Thursday, October 9, 2008

The End

posted by on October 9 at 6:51 AM

Yet another sign of the times:

The US government’s debts have ballooned so badly the National Debt Clock in New York has run out of digits to record the spiralling figure.

The digital counter marks the national debt level, but when that passed the $10 trillion point last month, the sign could not display the full amount.

The board was erected to highlight the $2.7 trillion level of debt in 1989.

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Good job, there, W.

Posted by LDP in Cincinnati | October 9, 2008 7:08 AM

HECK of a job there, W.

Posted by Tiktok | October 9, 2008 7:24 AM

Charles, do you ever ask or think to ask your American coworkers and associates what the attraction is to big debt that's impossible to pay off? Do citizens swell with pride knowing their country is the most indebted out of all the nations, even the impoverished ones, on the planet? Do people support an unpopular war and big bailouts because it's more likely their children and grandchildren will have to pay heavily for them? Do you fantasize about moving elsewhere so you can spare your child these heavy payments?

Posted by just wondering | October 9, 2008 7:38 AM

absolutely mind-boggling.

Posted by anon | October 9, 2008 7:42 AM

Y'all should hurry over to the Uptown to see "I.O.U.S.A." before it's gone if you really want to get a grip on the debt problem we have. Did The Stranger review the movie?

Posted by Yogi | October 9, 2008 7:52 AM

Good morning, just wondering! From where are you writing?

The best explanation I've read for our borrowing ways is that it's a substitute for two things we have lost forever: real money (as opposed to the fictitious value of housing and its derivatives and leveragings) and meaningful ideological appeal. We now try to control by owing. The line goes, when you owe a million dollars, you fear the bank; but when you owe a trillion dollars, the bank fears you. We owe the world's governments and businesses huge sums, so they do what our proxies suggest. It's an awesome and dishonest type of domination.

Thanks for the suggestion to see the movie, Yogi.

Posted by tomasyalba | October 9, 2008 7:59 AM

Today's required reading:
"The Willie Hortonization of Barack Obama"

Posted by Cameron | October 9, 2008 8:02 AM

Uh, @3. What makes you think that most (or even some) Americans are happy about or proud of a $10 trillion national debt? Your comment implies that you think that we are all supportive of the debt and the war, when that couldn't be further from the truth.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 9, 2008 8:11 AM

Conservative, which used to mean fiscally responsible and limiting governments growth and control of American's lives, now means fiscally careless and big government intrusion into peoples most private decisions. This has been driven by the religious right which clearly has no regard for privacy or freedom. Their fear driven ideology has exploded government and it's violation of the people's privacy. Their beloved leader, G.W., has now taken the step of socialising all aspects finance and capital that was once in the private sector.
After a decade of telling the people there wasn't enough money for their schools or healthcare, the Republican President has spent almost two trillion dollars on an unnecessary war and the failure of it's deregulation philosophy of big money institutions. These are reason enough to expel Republicans, en masse, from government.

Posted by Vince | October 9, 2008 8:16 AM
Posted by elenchos | October 9, 2008 8:26 AM

People don't understand debt.

If we owe that much, it's not our's the schmuck who lent it to us's problem.

Posted by John Bailo | October 9, 2008 8:52 AM

Maybe the US dollar will go the way of the Mexican peso or the Zimbabwean dollar and get three zeros knocked off of it to compensate for inflation.

Posted by Mahtli69 | October 9, 2008 10:11 AM

They could just do like McDonald's and stick a permanent "1" in front of that first numeric display.

Posted by COMTE | October 9, 2008 10:12 AM

What makes you think that most (or even some) Americans are happy about or proud of a $10 trillion national debt? Your comment implies that you think that we are all supportive of the debt and the war, when that couldn't be further from the truth.

You infer that I think you are all supportive of the debt and the war. I didn't include a quantitative adjective for "people" and "citizens."
Didn't Americans elect in 2000 and 2004 a government that escalated this borrowing? Aren't a large number of electoral colleges planning to vote in such a way to "stay the course"? And to continue socialization of risks and privatization of profits?

Posted by just wondering | October 9, 2008 10:17 AM


I think most Americans don't care or at least haven't cared up 'til now. Maybe now that they're seeing the consequences of over borrowing in their own lives, they'll start caring about the government's debt.

Posted by keshmeshi | October 9, 2008 10:49 AM

@14. I know that you didn't say "all" or "most". But the manner in which you asked the questions implied that you think a large portion of Americans must feel that way.

In truth, we are a very polarized country. In 2004, only 50.7% of voters voted for Bush. That means that very nearly half of Americans disagree with him and his policies. Even fewer Americans agreed with him in 2000 -- he received only 47.9% of the vote, less than Al Gore.

But, there is a bit of a flaw in taking a vote for Bush (or McCain) as a referendum on the debt or the war. If you asked Americans today, "are you happy about the size of the national debt", I'm sure only a negligible number of people would say yes.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 9, 2008 11:25 AM

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