It’s never a good sign when the good folks running the national debt clock have run out of digits, but that is exactly what has happened. The national debt has now exceeded $10 trillion; it is estimated at approximately $10.2 trillion, although that number is set to jump sharply over the coming months. In anticipation, the owners of the national debt clock plan to add two more zeroes, which will allow them to display one quadrillion dollars of debt, according to the Associated Press.
Is it just me, or does a quadrillion seem like one of those ridiculous make-believe numbers that kids throw out when they are trying to one-up their friends? To even think that we could someday be in one quadrillion dollars of debt is unfathomable, but, I’d venture to bet that the same could have been said about one trillion dollars back in the day. In fact, when Manhattan real estate developer Seymour Durst put up the national debt clock in 1989 to bring attention to the nation's rising debt problem, the national debt stood at a now paltry $2.7 trillion.
According to the BBC, some economists believe the $700 billion bailout plan could send the national debt level to $11 trillion, but personally, I think we could be looking at a debt level a lot higher than that by the time this financial crisis is over. The $700 billion bailout is just the start. What about all the bank bailouts and other measures the government is taking to right this sinking ship above and beyond the $700 billion package? The government will probably have to throw a lot more money at this problem before all is said and done.
Maybe someday we will get some leaders in office who understand the gravity problem--and are willing to take action--but until then, look for the debt clock to keep spinning ahead on its way to one quadrillion.