The U.S. National Debt

( Click on graph to see a larger, higher-resolution view for easier reading. )


On three days in March 2021 (March 1, 15, & 31), the U.S. National Debt ticked up above $28 Trillion. The first two times, it dropped back a few percentage points to below $28 Trillion, but political activity in Washington assures us it will come roaring back upwards soon.

For the last 29 years, I have been collecting data and analyzing the daily upswing of our National Debt. I can assure you, the picture is dismal.

If you click on the summary graph above, it will take you to a larger, higher resolution version you can read more easily. You’ll see we’re headed for rough times — while holding a debt we’ll likely never be able to repay.

$28 Trillion. Can we even conceive of that amount? Consider the following verbal pictures:

  • $28 trillion amounts to $85,204.31 for every citizen of the U.S. — men, women, and children alike. (Do you have your checkbook handy?)
  • Place 8 one-dollar bills on the ground. Now add additional one-dollar bills on top of each of them to make 8 stacks of equal height. When you’ve laid out 28 trillion dollars, the stacks will have reached the moon.
  • Assume you could spend $1000 every second (24/7/365). It would take you 887 years to spend $28 trillion.
  • Imagine a flat area equivalent to 15.5 contiguous American football fields including end zones (that’s 20.5 acres). Stack every square inch with one-dollar bills. When you’ve laid out 28 trillion of them, the entire area will be as tall as the Empire State Building.
  • A perfect cube of stacked one-dollar bills, comprising 28 trillion of them, would have a volume of 1.12 Billion cubic feet. Each side of the cube would be 1037 feet (2/10 of a mile) in length.
  • NEW! Try this visualization:
    Imagine you could lay 28 Trillion one dollar bills end-to-end. If you’re like me, if I tell you that this line of dollar bills would reach 2.7 billion miles, you probably couldn’t fathom how far that is (even if I told you it was the distance from the most distant planet, Neptune, to the Sun!).
    So think of it this way: Earth travels around the Sun at an average of 93 million miles per year (which is equal to a screamingly fast 10,604 miles per hour — or 3 miles per second!). That’s 14 times the speed of sound, folks!
    To cover the length of that line of 28 Trillion end-to-end one dollar bills, at Earth’s supersonic speed, it would take the Earth 29 years and 69 days!!

My friends, this nation is drowning in red ink and debt. The next time you’re looking for a candidate to support, find out her/his stand on making reduction of the Debt a national priority. If there is no plan, run (don’t walk) away.

“We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.”

Ronald Reagan

“Raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I, therefore, intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt.”

Barack Obama

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