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Our Amazing Debt (Cosmos Parody)

Join us as we explore the enormity of our fiscal black hole, which now surpasses $20 trillion.

The national debt just skipped past $20 trillion, which puts America's indebtedness at "unfathomably staggering." (And the chunk you owe personally at "a lot.")

The math behind the national debt is so complex that Reason TV decided to lean on "Cosmos" to explain it.

Written and produced by Austin Bragg, Meredith Bragg, and Andrew Heaton. Edited by Austin Bragg.

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TRANSCRIPT

We are about to begin a journey beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity. Join me, as we explore: Our Amazing Debt

We are all made of star stuff. And in America, we are all born more than $61 thousand in debt.

The collective debt we owe as a country now stands at $20 trillion, a level of debt unfathomable to our contemptible caveman ancestors.

How can we comprehend the sheer magnitude of the national debt? With our starship of imagination.

This is the USS Dumbitdownforme and it cost $12 billion to construct: all financed through debt. We didn't have the money to build it and we didn't want to raise taxes to pay for it, but we really wanted it. So, like a fiscal wormhole, we've used debt to puncture the reality of financial constraints, connecting what we want now to even more money we promise to pay later.

$20 Trillion is not just a lot of money, it's all the money, and then some.

If we could round up all the US currency in existence–every dollar bill, every quarter, every penny–we'd still need another $18 trillion. All the gold that has ever been mined couldn't even cover half of our debt.

Yet our story doesn't end here.

Like our ever-expanding universe our debt is constantly growing larger. This year we will pay more than $250 billion on interest payments. Not the debt, just the fee for borrowing money.

Much as cosmic expansion will inevitably lead to the heat death of our own universe, the debt, too, is unsustainable. As nature seeks balance, so to will our creditors.

Will the government gut spending? Defund entitlements? Devalue our currency?

One day, perhaps in our lifetime, we will discover the answers and reach the limit of our amazing debt. But for now we can only behold this awesome force that binds all Americans, bewitching us with the fascinating possibility, that maybe, just maybe, we're all f***ed.

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  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    Ah, a happy ending. Nice.

  • tatap||

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  • CE||

    What do you mean "our"?

  • Juice||

    Exactly.

  • AlmightyJB||

    We're still paying for it one way or another.

  • 2whlrider||

    Do we have to pay for it if we didn't vote for any of the politicians that created the debt?

  • AlmightyJB||

    We just need more hurricanes. /Pauly Krugnuts.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Pretty G.

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Ya know, what time way back I was watching The Daily Show with John Stewart and they had a economist of some renown on and his message as I understood it was: National Debt doesn't matter, it doesn't work like the debt you and I have. When we are in debt powerful, authoritative forces are there to physically take their dues from us with threats of jail and violence. The same rules don't apply to national debt, if we don't pay up -- what's China going to do, invade us and sack Fort Knox? That idea has stuck with me for a while, what do you think?

    The other thing I always remember, that's tied to this is how Germany was ordered at gun point to foot the bill for WW I and II but they never came close to coughing it up.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Has a major nation every defaulted such as ours? My guess is that the US currency would tank, as it is effectively considered dangerous goods at that point.

    There is also the relevant point of just how much we spend on debt payments each year. That is all money we could be spending otherwise, and it is significant. Debt and liability spending is the majority of our government expenditures now I believe.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    The US defaulted back in August 1971.

    It's taken a very long time for people to realize that.

    Until then, the interest and principle on bonds it issued were supposed be paid in currency that was directly convertible to gold. In 1971, the US government said they were not going to repay in gold-backed currency.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    There is too much phallic imagery here, and I refuse to stand around and accept it.

  • AlmightyJB||

    So you'll be in your bunk?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I will be praying. Assuming a position for godly submission.

  • Don't look at me.||

    It's only numbers on pieces of paper.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    zeroes and ones

  • AlmightyJB||

    Binarist!

  • CatoTheChipper||

    The size of the debt is limited only by the number supply.

  • AlmightyJB||

    If we just raised taxes on the 1% everyone could have their own $12B spaceship. It's basic college level math.

  • 2whlrider||

    i chuckled.

  • Palatki||

    The Roman Empire essentially defaulted on its debt in 400 AD. Nothing happened except the Dark Ages for a thousand years. i wouldn't worry about it.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    Damn I remember when 900 billion+ dollar debts was consider outrages back in the 80s

  • josh||

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26609548

    It's really a shame that they don't teach this story in schools.

    The debt isn't just a number. It's a gun to our heads.

  • tommhan||

    The debt we have accumulated in just over the last 15 years is just completely insane and this insanity goes against everything we were ever taught about keeping our country and economy strong. Why is inflation not just sky high? Or is it coming.

  • Widhalm19||

    Great video. Of the powers-that-be, is no intention whatsoever to repay or pay down the US national debt. None. Zero. At some point in the past, the world's central banksters decided to let the system unwind to it's collapse. As the day of truth approaches and collapse is imminent, the money men will pull the plug on national currencies and re-issue the "Global Dollar" or "Universal Mark" or something similarly named. The industrialized world's citizenry will have a short period of time to exchange their soon to be worthless bills and coins then the system will reset with the new currency. Leftists will be overjoyed with the concentration of authority and erasure of debts until they realize nothing significant will change for them within the social hierarchy of all civilized societies.

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