A Nation-Worth of Debt in Perspective

The United States debt is at an all-time high of 21.9 trillion dollars, earning the number one spot for the country with the most external debt. Over the years, our national debt has increased exponentially, especially under certain administrations. Percentage-wise, the Roosevelt Administration increased the national debt the most. The 1048% increase was mainly the consequence of the New Deal as well as money spent fighting World War II. As president, Obama racked up more debt than all the presidents from George Washington to Bill Clinton combined, increasing our debt by about 7.9 trillion, more than any other president in history. Obama’s high spending administration is followed by that of his predecessor, George W. Bush who added about 5.8 trillion to the national debt fighting The War on Terror to protect the United States after 9/11. Our national debt, 21.9 trillion dollars, is a lot of money to perceive, so below is our debt in perspective. With 21.9 trillion dollars, you could buy 4.5 million Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita – the world’s most expensive car. Combining every United States citizens yearly income is about 9 trillion less than the national debt. If every citizen were to chip in to pay off the national debt, every man, woman, and child in the country would owe about 68 thousand dollars. For 21.9 trillion dollars, Air Force One could be purchased 5,475 times at its price of 4 billion dollars. Bill Gates, widely considered the richest man in the world, is worth about 1/255 of the national debt. Every inch of the United States (3.8 million square miles) could be paved over 272 times and still cost less than the national debt. To equal the cost of the national debt, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the most expensive movie ever filmed, could be remade 73 thousand times. The value of the entire US economy for one year is equal to the value of the national debt. If the 21.9 trillion single dollars were stacked, it would reach about 1.4 million miles high, high enough to go to the moon and back 3 times. Apple Inc. could be purchased 24 times for the price of the national debt. The national debt could buy 1.2 billion Honda Civics. That’s enough to give three to everyone in the country, including babies.

One could buy a venti coffee Frappuccino at Starbucks every day for 13 billion years just to spend the equivalent of the national debt. While there are many different opinions surrounding our national debt, President Hoover put it best, saying, “Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.”

– Ella Siegenthaler ’20

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