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The real U.S. financial crisis

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webmaster | 01/19/12

As we begin a new year, we face a national financial crisis that is of unprecedented proportion. Exactly one year ago, I began this column with a nearly identical sentence. At some point on Tuesday, our national debt was more than $15.25 trillion dollars. But, our federal revenue (money that comes into government coffers) was only $2.325 trillion.

If you can operate a computer, type “U.S. Debt Clock” into your search engine. The numbers change so rapidly on your monitor’s screen that it makes you dizzy. But, the information helps to explain why it is impossible to achieve a “balanced budget” without significant cuts in social programs, coupled with some dramatic way to increase revenue. In recent history, that means increasing taxes.

The fact that we cannot pay off our debt means that we accumulate more interest on the amount that we owe. Currently, our annual interest payment is about $3.74 trillion, or $11,953 per citizen.

Adding it all up

In addition to our national debt, there is something called the U.S. Total Debt, the sum of all household, business, state and local government, financial institutions, and federal debt. That is now $56.5 trillion. If we had to pay off all of those obligations today, it would cost $683,491 per family, or $180,545 per person...


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