Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A handy illustration...

Now that government financial figures are expressed in numbers normally only used by astronomers or Zimbabwean ATM's, with a couple of digits that make sense followed by a vapor trail of zeroes that beggars the imagination, it's time to draw on some of those "If the Earth was a pea at home plate, then Jupiter would be..." analogies that they use for the kiddies down at the planetarium.

Fat In Indiana brings a handy one:
Here is the Debt: $14,500,000,000,000. That is triple what it was three years ago.

To better understand this amount, I have tried to shrink these huge amounts into a monetary figure I could grasp. Let us say a million dollars is the same as having a penny in your pocket...
You should RTWT.
.

8 comments:

Joe said...

thanks for the link

Bram said...

If average people were able to wrap their minds around the numbers, there would be a revolution tomorrow.

An said...

Tam - have you seen just how bad Blogger links suck when posted to facebook? Every so often I really want to link your posts to my fb and the lead-in text of your post (and any Blogger post) just isn't there. With posts like today's, it such a waste as it's what'll get the click throughs. Althouse finally got religion and is leaving Blogger. Maybe you should considered it for many this and other reasons. Just sayin...

Lanius said...

You sure about the debt tripling?

The deficit has tripled(not sure about that, but seems the rough figure), not the debt.

Bush exited office with a measly 10-11 trilion debt or so....

Here is a handy chart

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/78/US_Debt_Trend.svg/463px-US_Debt_Trend.svg.png

Tam said...

It was the deficit that tripled.

I was quoting someone else. You should go read the post and comments.

Graybeard said...

What's that plot supposed to be showing? If that's supposed to show debt as percent of GDP, it's seriously wrong - that's virtually 100%.

Both of those numbers look wrong to me. It looks too big to be deficit and too small to be debt.

Ed Foster said...

Yesterday's USAToday had a front page article on the debt subject. The figure quoted was $540,000 debt for every household in the country. That, even the Clettii can wrap their heads around.

Tony Muhlenkamp said...

I think it's useful to think of government spending, debt, deficits, etc. by US household; those are numbers I can relate to. There are roughly 100,000,000 households in US(http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html); so the division is pretty easy. $14 Trillion in debt is $140,000 per US household. $2 Trillion in revenues is $20,000, $3.6 Trillion in spending is $36,000. The problem becomes apparent pretty quickly, and I think is understandable by most people. I'm not sure where US Today got their numbers.