Mathematical Proof: National Debt Blows Past Uranus

What does the US national debt have in common with Uranus?

According to daily reports released by US Treasury officials, the US national debt has now reached a staggering $18,492,091,120,833.99 (yes they even included the cents). Nearly 18.5 TRILLION dollars.

This is enough dollar bills laid end-to-end to cover the average distance between Earth and Uranus (maths below if you really want to know).

Uranus Debt


At the end of October, Republicans and Democrats in Congress agreed they just can’t figure out how to cut the *astronomical* (see what we did there?) spending in the federal budget, leaving tough decisions about today’s fiscal problems for the next Congress and President to deal with.

Such feckless leadership leaves us all impoverished. More interest will be spent on the debt – funds that will buy no national defense, no FBI, not even for a road (because without government, who would build the roads? AMIRITE?). All those funds will go to financing money that has already been spent. This leaves current citizens who aren’t even old enough to vote yet with a huge stack of bills and IOUs. It’s unconscionable; it’s immoral; it’s wrong, in every imaginable sense of the word.


As promised, the maths:

Astronomical Unit = 149,597,871 kilometers
Average Distance from Earth to Uranus: 19.2 AU
Distance (in km) from Earth to Uranus: 2,872,279,123 kilometers

Length of One US Dollar Bill: 6.14 inches
Conversion US Dollar Bill to metric (come on, you saw The Martian, in space we translate to metric): 15.5956 centimeters
Conversion US Dollar Bill to metric (kilometers): 0.000155956

National Debt of the US Government: $18,492,091,120,833.99
National Debt of the US Government in $1 dollar bills: (just kidding…)
National Debt of the US Government in Dollar Bills (in kilometers): 2,883,952,562.84 kilometers

2,883,952,562.84 > 2,872,279,123

Conclusion: National Debt of the US Government > Distance from Earth to Uranus

Debt Files: Peepin’ On the Debt

While wandering around a store this weekend, we saw shelves stocked full of Easter candy: jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, crème eggs, and of course, iconic marshmallow Peeps to name a few.

And as our sweet tooth was being tempted, we thought, hey how much of this stuff could we buy with the national debt? Quite a bit as it turns out (as one would expect with more than $18 trillion to play with). And that’s pre-Easter candy pricing!

Check out our other national debt comparisons at, and if you have an idea for a debt file, let us know in the comments or find us on Facebook or Twitter.


Debt Files: Gasoline and the National Debt

You asked for it!

A few weeks ago, we asked for interesting items, services, or ideas to translate the national debt into. And some of you had some pretty interesting ideas!

Here’s the first one: Gasoline and the National Debt. Others will be coming soon; you can find them on our blog or see the running collection here.

Got an idea you’d like to see us try to relate to the national debt? Post it in the comments or find us on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll see what we can do!


Updating the Trillion Dollar Page

packs-163497When we first started Freedom Forge Press in 2012, the US government debt had topped $16 trillion, a number that is so large that it doesn’t have much meaning for people.

So we thought, why not use other things from the news, such as events, or items of interest that people could use as a visual for the volume of money that  government politicians are borrowing to pay for their spending schemes?

Items such as sporting events, dollar bridges to Mars, bottles of champagne, even iPhones and…Furbies!

But governments and politicians have been busy – doing what governments and politicians do – which is spending money they don’t have and adding record amounts of debt to our national balance sheet without regard for where the money is coming from or what burdens it will place on our children and grandchildren.

In January 2015, the US government owed $18 trillion dollars ($18,000,000,000,000.00), and so it is time to update our page.

Do you have an idea for an item or event that could be translated into national debt figures? Post your idea in the comments section for this post and give us a link to a page where we can find out what the item or event costs. (Even if you can’t find the page, give us your idea anyway, and we’ll try to figure it out.)

When you’re done, tell your elected officials that it is time to stop mortgaging our future and to get America’s spending and debt under control.

Then, tell a friend!

Government Debt Levels Equate to Unsportsmanlike Conduct on America’s Future

american-football-151765_640Just in time for the Big Game tonight!

The NFL as an organization has a very expensive evening ahead of it. The organization expects to pay approximately $97,000 per player for each person on the winning team’s 53-man roster. It’ll also pay $49,000 per player to the losing team.

Then there’s the trophy: an estimated $12,500 expense from Tiffany and Company for the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy to be awarded to the winning team.

The NFL also kicks in a subsidy toward commemorative jewelry for the winning team – $5,000 per person up to 150 pieces for players, coaches, and other team support staff. The losing team can expect a $2,500 per person subsidy.

And last, but certainly not least, the game balls–properly inflated we can only hope. Each team receives 54 game plus an additional 12 balls for kickers for a total of 120 balls at an estimated $150 per ball. Total cost: $18,000.

All in, the NFL can expect to fork over $8,839,500 in Big Game consumables and bonuses alone.

The US Government’s current debt exceeds 18,104,541,000,000 (18 TRILLION…). The US government’s debt could have paid for 2,048,140 Super Bowl events. That’s enough Big Games to fill 5,607 years worth of Super Bowls if one game were played every single day.

Talk about pass interference! Each dollar of debt will need to come from somewhere, be it raised taxes, reduced spending for actual legitimate federal government expenses (few as those may be). With as big a trench as politicians from both political parties have collectively dug (and continue to dig!) for American taxpayers of the present and future, one has to hope sooner or later voters will muster the courage to throw a penalty flag at all politicians who promise hope and change but fail miserably to deliver.

PHOTO CREDIT: “American Football” a free vector graphic from Pixabay.

Budget “Deal” Shows Why You Shouldn’t Trust Politicians to Fix Anything

House Republican Paul Ryan and Senate Democrat Pat Murray proudly emerged from crafting their back-room budget deal. Finally, an end to the dreaded “sequester” budget cuts that were promised to be so intense and so devastating that the sky might literally fall if they were enacted. Finally, an end to the threat of another government shut down when the continuing resolution passed in October expires in mid-January.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor praised Ryan for “the hard work behind trying to get a deal in this divided government we’re in.”

Speaker John Boehner was so angry that conservatives in his caucus weren’t widely supporting the budget deal, he yelled “Are you kidding me?” at one point into a microphone at his press conference earlier today.

That’s funny. We think the question really should be asked of him and those who support the budget “deal” and think that something meaningful has actually been accomplished.  Maybe a better question is “who are you trying to kid?”

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office scores the deficit impact of the laws Congress passes.  They evaluated this budget deal and reported the law would result in about $150 billion in deficit reductions. Over ten years.

Of course Representatives have two-year terms–meaning there will be five elections between now and the end of this projection. Even the Senate will go through nearly two full election cycles of its members during this timeline. What is the chance that the cuts enacted will be left in place? If you need a hint, the budget cuts that went into effect January 2, 2013 lasted until…well until about today, so not even a full year. What’s the likelihood that budget cuts enacted ten years from now actually remain in place?

This is the dishonesty of budget projections. All the budget pain is in the later years of the timeline. But politicians claim to have made “the hard choices” now and done “the hard work” now of getting a deal done today. They’re hoping you don’t notice when the cuts go into effect.

The “hard choice” made in the House today is to make NO change to the projected deficit in 2014. That’s right. Zero change. All changes take place after 2014. And we know 2014 is an election year, meaning in 2015, fresh faces in Congress may alter this budget blueprint at will.

The pie chart below shows the dollar value of deficit cuts in each year of the budget plan.  Yes, 2014, the year when Congress could have actually enacted something that would stick, is zero. As each year passes, the likelihood of the cuts remaining in place drops–so we shaded the chart to reflect lighter pie slices until 2023 when the final slice is a pale white-green color.

Seventy cents of every dollar in proposed cuts won’t take place until after the 5 year mid-point (2019) of the budget plan. We won’t even have the same president by then. The remaining 30 cents in cuts will be realized between 2015 and 2019.

But the size of the cuts themselves are unbelievably small. Sure, politicians will claim to have cut the deficit by $150 billion (…*cough*overtenyears*cough*…)

But what does that mean? Even if every penny that is proposed to be on the budget chopping block remains on the chopping block, the size of the cuts is insignificant.

Over the same 10 year period where Republicans and Democrats are slapping each other on the back over their $150 billion in deficit reductions (…*cough*overtenyears*cough*…) your government is expected to spend some $46.6 TRILLION. Suddenly the $150 billion in reductions (your turn! *cough*overtenyears*cough) is little more than an insignificant rounding error–just 0.3% of funds to be spent.

We colored the area of the rectangle below green in a sea of red to represent the value of the cuts as a percentage of expected spending. You might need to zoom in to find the cuts.

This inability of Congress to address the country’s fiscal woes will lead to economic ruin in the form of crippling tax increases, inflation, and a damaged US Dollar in foreign currency markets. These effects in turn limit the freedom we have to enjoy a fruitful and prosperous lifestyle as we have less disposable income, must pay more for basic goods and services with the money the government was gracious enough not to tax, and an inability to afford goods and services that are not produced here.

All of which begs the question of Speaker Boehner and those who voted for the measure, “Are you kidding us?”

America’s Fiscal Irresponsibility Fuels China’s Military Rise

US government debt has swelled to a whopping $16 TRILLION dollars last month in September. That’s $16,000,000,000,000.00 or a sixteen with 12 zeros after it. The number has grown so large so fast that some have difficulty putting a number this big into normal terms.

As President Clinton left office in 2000, the US government had $5.6 trillion in debt. This represents the accumulated deficits of every single year of government operations dating back to the founding of the Republic in 1776. (Some may argue on the date, but the US government established in 1789 recognized all debts incurred by previous governments during the revolution and Articles of Confederation period.)

From 2000 to 2012, the US government added another 10.4 trillion–nearly tripling the size of the debt in 12 years. I explained this to a friend, who said, well things just cost more these days. True but, here’s the score:

224 Years: $5.6 Trillion
12   Years: $10.4 Trillion

Clearly this isn’t possible simply because of price increases in the cost of milk and cookies. And unfortunately the consequences of such poor fiscal management extend beyond future tax increases, having no funds for funding essential government functions, or even funding a reasonable social safety net.

All borrowers have to pay their bills. And in America’s case, we owe A LOT of money. Which means when America pays its bills in the form of interest payments, there are lenders on the receiving end of those payments.

The US Treasury maintains a list of foreign governments who own US debt. As of July 2012, China owned $1.15 trillion in US debt securities or about 11 percent of total publicly held debt. The Treasury Department doesn’t publish exactly what maturities and interest rates each country owns–but a fair estimate would be to assume that 11 percent of debt entitles China to approximately 11 percent of interest paid.  That’s 11 percent of total interest payments on the national debt–$250 billion in 2012–for a total of $27.5 billion.

China has announced a 2012 military budget of approximately $100 billion. At that rate of spending, it can be estimated that US interest payments provide about one-fourth of China’s annual spending on building the world’s 2nd largest military budget.


So why point this out at all? Well if you’re part of a group of people concerned about China’s military rise and its commitment to peace in the Pacific, it’s difficult to see how providing one-fourth of the money used for military development via interest payments is a good idea. If you’re not concerned about China’s military rise–maybe we could at least agree on the fact that surely the US could find more productive uses for the $27.5 billion given directly to China if not the total sum of $250 billion spent annually on nothing but interest payments to finance the government’s financial mismanagement.


Image courtesy of vichie81 /