The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

$54,084 per Second

As the spending and deficit fight (and it will be a fight) ramp up in the coming months you’re going to hear the Democratic Left demonize the centrist Democrats and Republicans who want to rein in spending. Aided by their media allies, the Left will trot out anecdotal examples of the “hardships” faced by government employees who (the horror!) have had their wages frozen or (double horror) have been laid-off to accommodate cuts in unnecessary and wasteful government programs. Before you sympathize, note that our national debt just passed through the $14 trillion mark.

A trillion is a very big number. So big, in fact, that it becomes an abstraction for most people. Andrew Malcolm tries to make it more concrete:
A trillion has so many zeroes it won't fit in your checkbook -- 12 zeros, to be exact.

Last June 1 doesn't really seem all that long ago. The Gulf oil disaster was barely half-spilled. President Obama and Pancho Biden were still promising ... amazing job growth by summer's end. The Senate was confirming Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court. CIA Director Leon Panetta still wasn't sure where Osama bin Laden was. Al and Tipper, and Tiger and Elin, were still married to each other.

Here's why we mention June 1. On that day the national debt was "only" $13 trillion. It's 214 days from June 1 through last Friday, Dec. 31. That's 5,136 hours or 308,160 minutes or 18,489,600 seconds.

In those seven short months the national debt increased by $1,000,000,000,000.

That works out to be a growth in national debt of $54,084 borrowed during every single one of those 18,489,600 seconds.

No need to worry, state Left-leaning economists like Paul Krugman or Robert Reich. Keep spending—deficits don’t matter.

$54,084 per second matters. A lot.