Yesterday I was asking people whether or not they thought the United States Debt (it is so big now it gets to be capitalized) is worth repaying. Most of them said no. So I looked around on the internet and found out (to my horror) that most people do not realize how the deficit affects them personally. I feel the need to explain that.
Short Version: When I just checked the US National Debt Clock, the Debt was 11, 375, 676, 430, 569 and one dime. It was growing at a rate that made the millions place (the second six) increase by about 1 every time I could refresh it (or more accurately 3.7 billion per day). The US population is just over 300 million, so that means YOU owe over 37000 to the US Debt. The average family of four owes more than $148,000. The median income in America for a family of four is $67,019. Americans would have to spend literally nothing for over 2 years to pay this back.
Want to know how much YOU owe right now? Check http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/ or http://www.babylontoday.com/national_debt_clock.htm
Long version: While your family may not be forced to cough up 150k any time soon (unless the world decides to trade the bonds that finance our debt into what they technically are: CASH) the debt is still affecting you negatively.
If we have a deficit, there is more money in circulation than there should be, because the government is either spending money (or printing money) that it doesn’t have, or issuing bonds that it can’t back. If it’s issuing the bonds, we have currency devaluation, and if it’s spending money or printing money we have inflation. Normally the government does both these things, meaning that the more debt we have, the cheaper the dollar is. Domestically, that means stuff costs more. Internationally, that means other countries buy our dollars for cheap and can then buy stuff with them, or essentially buy our products for less than they are worth. It also means that stuff we import costs more, so the price of oil (and you gas) also increases.
Now the general public (or at least the small portion of it at my camp and on yahoo answers) had this to say about what the debt meant for them.
“It’s never going to be repaid so it doesn’t matter”
“I’m not sure I am being impacted directly.”
“The only real way anyone gets impacted is the value of the dollar. Besides that as long as the government doesn’t raise taxes , the average person is not effected at all [sic]”
Really Short Version: So, what should the debt mean to you? Expensive gas, expensive groceries, and 150 thousand dollars.