New national debt data: It's growing about $3 million a minute, even during his vacation
Swallow all liquids in your mouth before reading any further.
Updated numbers for the national debt are just out: It's now $14,639,000,000,000.
When Barack Obama took the oath of office twice on Jan. 20, 2009, CBS' amazing number cruncher Mark Knoller reports, the national debt was $10,626,000,000,000.
That means the debt that our federal government owes a whole lot of somebodies including China has increased $4,247,000,000,000 in just 945 days. That's the fastest increase under any president ever.
Remember the day the Democrat promised to close the embarrassing Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility within one year? That day the national debt increased $4,247,000,000. And each day since that the facility hasn't been closed.
Same for the day in 2009 when Obama flew all the way out to Denver to sign the $787 billion stimulus bill that was going to hold national unemployment beneath 8% instead of the 9.1% we got today anyway? Another $4,247,000,000 that day. And every day since, even Obama golfing and vacation days.
Same sum for the day Obama flew Air Force One nearly four hours roundtrip to Columbus, Ohio for a 10-minute speech about how well the stimulus was working in the politically crucial Buckeye state. Ohio's unemployment rate just jumped to 9% from 8.8% anyway.
Or last week's three-day Midwestern tour in the president's new $1.1 million Death Star bus? National debt went up $16,988,000,000 while he rode around speaking and buying ice cream cones.
Numbers with that many digits are hard to grasp, even for a Harvard head. So, let's put it another way:
One billion seconds ago Bill Clinton was nearing the end of his two terms and George W. Bush's baseball collection was still on the shelves in the Austin governor's office.
The nation's debt increased $4.9 trillion under President Bush too, btw. But it took him 2,648 days to do it. Obama will surpass that sum during this term.
Now, how to portray a trillion, or 1,000 billions. One trillion seconds ago much of North America was still covered by ice sheets hundreds of feet thick. And the land was dotted by only a few dozen Starbuck's.
Obama is saying yes, we can get control of the national debt. But ominously every time he says that he adds that trillions of dollars in infrastructure repairs are badly needed across the country. And with interest rates so low, according to the thinking on Obama's planet, now is an excellent time to borrow even more money.
So, it looks like not too long before Americans learn what comes after 1,000 trillions.
It's quadrillion. But for Bernanke's sake, please don't tell anyone in Washington.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photos: Associated Press (Obama and Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid plot more spending); Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press (Obama gets off the bus for some ice cream in Iowa, Aug. 16).