19 May 2008

National Debt

Here is the U.S.'s current national debt:

Visit the U.S. National Debt Clock

Just a few questions:

1. Why are people getting all this money back from the government if there's such a huge debt?
2. The idea of the debt itself is so ridiculous to me. Who are they going to pay back? I mean, half of the people/institutions/countries we owe money to must have died or moved on by now, right? Is there a list somewhere of who to give money to?
3. How is it going to help to "write your congressman"? He'll just say, okay, cool, why doesn't everyone pay their $30,000?

4. Why, if 40% should go to the Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S., don't they just let it go? (I realize it is quasi-private, which just makes me say, "let it go, people, unless you personally want to pay a lot. And don't you have any pride in your country?")
5. I fully love astronomy, but isn't our love of Enlightenment ideas (human progress) a little expensive when we've got such a debt on our shoulders? Have you ever seen how much NASA gets? 16.2 billion in 2007. If we were to stop exploring space for a while, it would only take us . . . 577 years to pay off the debt. Bah, but that's only if it were to stop growing now. There must be other ways we can cut and other ways we can stop the growth of 1.49 billion per day. What if all politics adopted a King-Benjamin-like attitude, something similar to what Arnold has done?


  1. I actually think we need to be spending more on space exploration. It's not out of mere curiosity that we need to go into space, it's for the continuation of humanity. Some say that, "oh, Jesus will be back soon anyway, so why worry about the continuation of humanity?" From scriptural accounts it seems that God wants us to spread humanity into all frontiers--the Americas, the islands of the sea... we need more Hagoths. Wilford Woodruff said about the Second Coming, "I would live as if it [was] to be tomorrow--but I am still planting cherry trees." Cherry trees take a long time to grow. Ensuring the survival of humanity should be a primary policy. How's that for a rant!

  2. Err, the national debt is owed in debt instruments (things like bonds) that are freely transferable. So when someone dies, the debt doesn't go away, it just gets transferred.

    As to "Why are people getting all this money back" -- it is an election year.

  3. I guess the rationale with the rebate checks is that the government thinks it will boost the economy at a time when it is starting to look like recession. Two-thirds of the US economy is based on consumer spending so it's important that people keep spending money.

    The problem is, there are no guarantees that people will spend that check to create a spike. First of all, many people spent the money as soon as they heard they were going to get it and second of all, many people may save that money or spend it on fuel, which does not create any extra business.