The Associated Press reported last week that U.S. Senate Democrats proposed allowing the federal government to borrow “an additional $1.9 trillion.”
That’s trillion — not billions, not measly millions.
A trillion is $1,000,000,000,000. That’s 12 zeroes. It’s a million millions.
It’s a lot.
Consider the proposal is to borrow $1.9 trillion more, on top of the trillions already borrowed. If approved, the AP reports the national debt will total $14.3 trillion.
I’ve got a full-sized desktop calculator, not one of those small pocket-sized models. I just tried and it won’t display enough digits. It stops at a total of 12 digits and I need 13 to display one trillion.
I plugged $14,300,000,000,000 (14.3 trillion dollars) onto a spreadsheet and divided it by 300,000,000 (300 million), the approximate number of current U.S. citizens.
If our debt were called in, every U.S. citizen — every man, woman and child — would need to pony up $47,666.67 for their individual share of this debt.
That’d be a problem for most in Louisiana, where the per capita — the per person — average income for 2006 (the most recent I could find) was estimated at $31,821.
That means the average Louisiana man, woman and child would give up 100 percent of his or her income for a solid year, and then half of next year’s income, to pay their share of this debt.
That should frighten us.
But even worse, that national debt keeps growing, not only because Congress keeps spending more, but we have to pay interest on that debt.
I’m not sure what the interest rates are for the U.S. debt, but at just 2 percent, the interest alone is $28.6 billion.
And again based on 300 million persons, the average man, woman or child owes $953.33 in interest charges for just a single year.
Remember the oft-quoted line from the movie “Apollo 13” — “Houston, we have a problem?”
We’ve got a problem, not just in Houston but all across Texas, Louisiana and the rest of the U.S., and it seems to start in Washington.