Why is the country headed for economic misery?
"U.S. debt: $30,000 per American
The national debt the total accumulation of annual budget deficits is up from $5.7 trillion when President Bush took office in January 2001 and it will top $10 trillion sometime right before or right after he leaves in January 2009. That's $10,000,000,000,000.00, or one digit more than an odometer-style clock in Times Square can handle.
Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt is an explosion waiting to happen. It's expanding by about $1.4 billion a day — or nearly $1 million a minute.
What's that mean to you?
It means almost $30,000 in debt for each man, woman, child and infant in the United States.
SO HOW MUCH IS THAT?:
Even if you've escaped the recent housing and credit crunches and are coping with rising fuel prices, you may still be headed for economic misery, along with the rest of the country. That's because the government is fast straining resources needed to meet interest payments on the national debt, which stands at a mind-numbing $9.13 trillion.
And like homeowners who took out adjustable-rate mortgages, the government faces the prospect of seeing this debt — now at relatively low interest rates — rolling over to higher rates, multiplying the financial pain.
So long as somebody is willing to keep loaning the U.S. government money, the debt is largely out of sight, out of mind.
But the interest payments keep compounding, and could in time squeeze out most other government spending — leading to sharply higher taxes or a cut in basic services like Social Security and other government benefit programs. Or all of the above.
A major economic slowdown, as some economists suggest may be looming, could hasten the day of reckoning."