You NOW owe $27,496.29
[I advocate and maintain a balanced budget and low-to-no debt]
The Bureau of the Public Debt states that outstanding U.S. Public Debt as of 02/03/2006 is now $8,195,544,127,376.07... that's 8.2 trillion dollars and the highest point ever in U.S. history. The Feb 07, 2006 estimated population of the United States is 298,060,012. So, figured on a per capita basis, each citizen's share of this debt is $27,496.29. (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
This debt, 64.7% of GDP (2005 est.), has grown $2.5 trillion in just the last five years alone; in 1992 the debt stood at 4.1 trillionthat's half of what it is today.
We pay interest (around 4.6% at today's rates) on that debt to Fed banks, private organizations and individuals. You and your kids will have to pay that debt down eventually with tax money or reduced government services (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, Homeland Security). If left unchecked and it continues to grow, we risk a collapse of our financial system at some point when our government can't make the interest payments. This can happen during rough economic times (recessions, depressions, wars) or when there's just not enough of taxpayers to handle the load (the "boomers" retire).
The Baby Boomers (the largest population segment by age) are moving out of the job market and will NOT be so generously dishing-out all those tax dollars. That means that the rest of you will have to make up for their loss share of the payments on the public debt's interest... If you can't make the payments, we could all wake up one morning, after saving and investing our hard earned money, and find the doors locked on our stock portfolios, mutual funds and savings accounts.
You won't be able to touch a cent of your money while the government sorts things out! In the mean time, the markets will be in free-fall, even though they remain closed.
You may think I'm hyperbolizing for effect, but take a look back in history, ALL great empires (Roman, British, Ottoman, Egyptian) eventually come to an end and over extending ones own resources is usually right there at the roots. I believe we started our decline in the year 2000 and you will never see times like those again in your life time! No, it won't happen tomorrow and you may not even notice unless you take a look, but it has begun. China, India, South America and other faster, younger developing economies are now cutting deeply into the few markets we tenuously have reigned over (i.e., technology, aircraft, food).
When's the last time you saw watermelon grown in the U.S. at Costco?
To support my premise I found this book... Running On Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About ItAuthor: Peter G. Peterson.
Reporting from the underground...