Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Trillion Here, A Trillion There 

This article tries to explain the national debt -- the trillions the US owes to the world.  But, who knows what the debt really is, and how does one communicate the actual burden?  These are two major problems with talking about the deficit.  It all depends on how you count and counting can be done in a number of ways.  Secondly, it is well-nigh impossible for the human mind to grasp the concept of a "trillion."  Piling stacks of 100 dollar bills to the moon and back is as unreal as a table full of stacked pennies -- another image that has been tried.  There is a point where numbers have no meaning to most people.  The national debt is well beyond comprehension.  But, it is essential for government to communicate about it and for reporters and others to explain it.  Just don't expect citizens to relate to the debt until the day when services disappear.


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