The U.S. "Balance Sheet": $75 trillion in Debt

It seems that American government functions very similarly to its people when it comes to economics: We spent far more than we have and don’t even worry about calculating the related costs.  The consequences of the Bush Administration’s seemingly never-ending bungling are staggering.  Still, few Americans have any idea of the magnitude of the problem.  Perhaps we’re too busy focusing on having to pay an extra dime or dollar per gallon of gasoline.

A recent MarketWatch article tries to get us to focus on what’s really important.  From A $75 trillion fright fest: Eight megahorror debts chilling America:

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. (MarketWatch) — America’s out of control, drowning in debt, gorging: $75 trillion and getting worse. Now we’re dumping Fannie and Freddie on America’s balance sheet. Every year we pile trillions more on future generations.

Can’t trust McCain? Obama? Time for new leadership! The best qualified for president is the same great American hero we picked as our favorite write-in candidate for the 2006 elections: David Walker, former comptroller general, chief auditor of the U.S. Government Accounting Office for a decade before resigning last spring. He is ready. See previous Paul B. Farrell.

Walker was the “voice of reason” in Washington while Congress and the White House kept wasting trillions like out-of-control drunks, digging America deeper into debt. Nobody listened. Politicians ignored Walker’s warnings, making matters worse as we went from a surplus of $5 trillion in 2000 to crushing debt that’s now $9.6 trillion.

Puns and cliches aside, I found the article to be entertaining and well-written.  keep in mind that this excessive spending that focuses on war, oil, corporate profits, and broken and corrupt systems such as our for-profit healthcare system will take their toll in time.  If you want to see some near-real-time numbers, see the U.S. National Debt Clock

Most of these problems are solvable, but unfortunately they’ll require people to actually think about the costs of our investments and expenditures.  History has proven that fighting issues like materialism, greed, fear, and a thirst for war are often losing propositions.  Americans seem to have drifted so far away from rational thought and have migrated toward religious superstition and “thinking” based on emotions rather than facts.  We continue to support catastrophic policies that have proven to fail time and again.  We pretend that our failing economy needs only a “few tweaks” to get it back on track.  Clearly, it will take a lot more than that.  Unfortunately, I suspect there will be no shortage of related articles for this blog in the coming years.



  1. D M WAYNE said,

    August 25, 2010 at 5:33 pm


  2. murrayv said,

    August 21, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    $75 trillion in debt can only come from accumulating future laibilities without consideration of net present value, and with some arbitrary end point. Not very good accounting or economics.

    I recommend studying Modern Money Theory (MMT). Don’t reject it out of hand because it invalidates your cherished belief in “excess debt is bad”. I was shocked when I first encountered MMT, but I had learned my economics prior to going off the gold standard and never considered that that was a game changer. Most economists haven’t got there yet.

    D M Wayne – academic credentials prove correct thought?? Oh boy!

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