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.
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.