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$13 Trillion, and Climbing!

The mainstream media was besides itself as the national debt passed the $13 trillion mark this past week. CBS’s White House correspondent provided his readers a bit of a perspective, noting that “It would buy 16,270,337,922 top-of-the-line iPads, 34,210,526 Rolls Royce Phantoms, or 83 Googles at its current market cap.”

To be exact, the debt on Tuesday, June 2, was almost $12.996 trillion, according to ABC News. And as of 7:00 PM, June 5, 2010, according to the U.S. Debt Clock, the debt stands at just over $13.046 trillion, or almost $$42,162 per citizen.

At the Christian Science Monitor, Economist Mom explains that while it is possible to pay off the national debt “to do that . . . would be stupid; unless it were done very progressively such that only old and idle wealth were confiscated (rather than income), it would cripple the economy." Economist Mom goes on to say the nation does indeed need to get:

“ . . . net debt to GDP stabilized at some level not too far from where we are now–which is 60 percent of GDP–but not because that level of debt is anything that special or significant or sufficient for fiscal sustainability, but because to stabilize at the level of debt where we’re at now, we’ll have to start changing policy paths now–emphasis on policy and paths and now. And the sooner we start the better, or else we’ll be perpetually counting on the economically foolish and grossly unfair idea that future generations will have to eliminate all our debt “tomorrow.”

At the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch, Kurt Brouwer points out that current options are limited, noting:

“Our current problem is that the economy is still very sluggish.  We are no longer in a recession, but we face serious impediments to strong economic growth such as high unemployment, a stagnant real estate sector and gloom in the small business sector.  Cutting back on government spending is very difficult now.  Unfortunately, government at every level went wild on spending during the boom times, so now we have so much accumulated debt that our options are limited.”

Finally, in writing yesterday at Minyanville that U.S. debt is out of control, Robert Barone says:

“All of the public debt was originated by governments and most of the private debt by banks or other financial institutions. In feudal times, serfs owed a significant portion of their toil to their lords. Have times really changed? The lords are now the politicians and "Too Big to Fail" bankers. Many ordinary people are serfs, highly indebted either voluntarily (private debt) or involuntarily (public debt). Looking at debt in this way helps to explain the unholy alliance between Washington and Wall Street (see The Unholy Washington-Wall Street Alliance) and why the "Too Big to Fail" and Washington politicians get richer and richer at the public's expense.” (emphasis added)

For the current amount of the national debt, refer to USDebtClock.org. To fight back, visit DefeattheDebt.con. For more information about the public debt, see the reports webpage of the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt.

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