Exchequer

Our Debt Is More Than All the Money in the World

Just a reminder: We are in trouble.

I have argued that the real national debt is about $130 trillion. Let’s say I’m being pessimistic. Forbes, in a 2008 article, came up with a lower number: $70 trillion. Let’s say the sunny optimists at Forbes got it right and I got it wrong.

For perspective: At the time that 2008 article was written, the entire supply of money in the world (“broad money,” i.e., global M3, meaning cash, consumer-account deposits, checkable accounts, CDs, long-term deposits, travelers’ checks, money-market funds, the whole enchilada) was estimated to be just under $60 trillion. Which is to say: The optimistic view is that our outstanding obligations amount to more than all of the money in the world.

Global GDP in 2008? Also about $60 trillion. Meaning that the optimistic view is that our federal obligations outpace the entire annual economic output of human civilization.

So, John Boehner wants to roll spending back to where it was in the last year of the Bush administration. Okay, great. Nice start.

Now, what else have you got?

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