As of close of business on July 31, 2014, our debt has risen to $17,618,599,653,160.19. That crippling level of debt is itself astonishing but what is equally astonishing is that $7 trillion of that debt has been added in just the five and a half years of the Obama Administration. That $7 trillion is more than the debt accumulated from George Washington through Bill Clinton combined.

I remain in disbelief over the continued spending of Congress and the White House — I was also critical of George W. Bush who was not a fiscal conservative and the wars launched under his leadership contributed to these costs. Despite this mounting debt, neither the Congress nor the White House hesitated to send hundreds of millions more to Israel to pay for part of its defense or billions to places like Afghanistan and Iraq despite the loss of over $4 trillion in those wars.

I readily admit that I am more conservative on spending and taxes than many on this blog. However, I am not fanatically against debt as a concept. I just object to the cavalier attitude toward spending and more importantly the lack of priority. The greatest national security threats in this country are not Afghanistan or Iraq but our crumbling public education system, underfunded science and environmental programs, and such growing menaces as pandemics like Ebola.

As recent report showed that the level of waste in rebuilding Afghanistan alone is far greater than previously thought. John Sopko, the inspector general charged with monitoring aid sent by the U.S. to Afghanistan, found billions of dollars more wasted in Afghanistan. One small example are two $40.5 million C-130 transport planes that the U.S. government gave the Afghan Air Force even though it cannot use the planes. Such moronic forms of waste result in a shocking finding that of $10.6 billion in funding review, nearly $7 billion was potentially wasted. Yet, the money continues to pour in and no one is held accountable for the waste or stupidity. No one accept the American people who will pass this debt on to our children.

Here is the actual debt numbers from the government: Treasury

191 thoughts on “$17,618,599,653,160.19”

  1. But we still have ourselves to blame.

    I’ve got confessions to crimes, Judges saying they are too busy to look at the facts; because they have to get back to Tweeter. (see end of transcript)

    Dept of Justice personnel who take promotions OFF my cases.

    FBI agents who threaten me (from 3 different offices)

    And its all about Mitt Romney, his off shore and “retroactive” crimes

    That no one else seems to give a dam about.

    BUT THEY WILL – When he becomes POTUS!

  2. BFM;

    You have a diluted vote (between Rove’s plan to steal and Romney’s kin owning voting machines {don’t forget the destruction of the register tapes and blocking of good citizens from doing such}).

    And – as for your remark about “integrity in our courts—


  3. “If I have to face the risk of a world without the government or the risk of government going off track then I choose government. My choice is based, in part, on my confidence that my fellow citizens are rational and reasonable people and that together we can reach a consensus.”

    I believe the framers would agree with your choice but not with your reasoning. They had actually no confidence their fellow citizens would be anything other than what history had proven their human nature to be; self-serving and ruthless. “If men were angels…” And unfortunately, this is the pool from which our necessary government is chosen.

    For the above reasons, this next quote from you also hits the nail on the head; “Governments always pose a risk. This is why we should always be vigilant.”

    The problem as I see it is no one teaches this completely rational and provable point. Instead, we teach that not only is government necessary but is to be given full license over “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor”; all the while they remaining immune from such risk. This is hardly representative of the virtuous government deemed necessary to the security of our unalienable rights.

    There are a lot of well-meaning people in this country but that is hardly the characteristic you look for when you need vigilance. I believe you are placing your faith in an electorate largely unqualified and even more concerning, apathetic to the responsibility of good citizenship.

    The only winner in this debt debate or any other policy debate the people wage will be the wing of the big government party selected to carry on the tax and spend policies.

    1. @John Oliver

      Yeah your right. When it comes to democracy and the electorate I tend to get a little sentimental.

      But what ever happens, so long as we have the vote and integrity in the courts, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

  4. “” how you can attribute the increase to Obama rather than Bush’s tax cuts” Tax cuts *do not* increase debt- *spending* increases debt. ”

    If you look at it that way isn’t irresponsible to make the cuts in taxes without first, at least, identifying the cuts in spending.

    And if you cannot secure through vote those reductions in spending then isn’t especially irresponsible to make the cuts anyway.

    Isn’t making the cuts in taxes without securing agreement on the cuts in spending just irresponsible sabotage of the democratic system – ‘if I can’t convince you of my opinion I will just bring the house down on all our heads?’

    Shame on you people! It is an outrage!

  5. ” how you can attribute the increase to Obama rather than Bush’s tax cuts” Tax cuts *do not* increase debt- *spending* increases debt. Cut spending when tax revenue is cut and you won’t increase debt. Except for the Constitutionally mandated payment on debt, every single penny of government spending, including Social Security and Medicare, is discretionary. It was created by passing a law and can disappear by passing another law. The idea that a tax cut needs to be “paid for” is laughable. Only spending needs to be paid for.

  6. Paul then you change the discussion, You said we should only pay for what we want to pay but should benefit from programs for which we hadn’t such as the DoD. It is the same thing, you want to set your own percentage for what you pay to DoD for instance then you should only get that & worth of benefit.
    A government has to protect all the people with Dod, make roads for all the people etc. Therefore we should all have a responsibility to help pay for that. It isnot like when the country sr=tarted and there werenot millions of people and 50 states and wars and terrorism and communicable diseases that could kill millions etc.

  7. Paul
    HO HUM

    Best thing you’ve said on any thread, so far.
    May we have more?

    1. leejcaroll – you have asked some good questions which have caused me to look at the problem a little differently. Since it is the primary duty of the country to protect it citizens I think the payment to the DOD should now be a standard percentage for everyone, that includes those under the poverty line.

  8. But you want the benefit without the responsibility to help pay for it. That makes no sense to me. I believe you are one of the ones who complain about the safety net and people who don’t work getting benefits but that is the same thing. They get benefits, they take, without giving in, you want to take without giving in.

    1. leejcaroll – I have given all my life. Joined SS when I was 12. Maybe we set a certain percentage of income directly for DOD.

  9. Paul you wrote: Say, for example, you did not check off DOD, and we were invaded. Should the DOD protect you? I would say yes.
    But how is that fair, you did not pay for DOD, why should you then benefit from something for which you did not pay? If I buy an ice cream cone and the stranger next to me does not, why would I then be required to let him share my cone?
    Seems to me you want it both ways. I only want to pay for what I want to pay but I want the services of all even when I have not paid into the kitty.

    1. leejacaroll – you have no right to my ice cream cone, but you do have a right to have the government protect you from enemies foreign and domestic. This is one of the few I would allow.

  10. We (the people) are in the debt debacle most dire;
    because WE don’t care to stop the thievery

    until it really, Really – hurts!

    Then – its much to late…..

  11. Paul – are you deliberately trying to be acute?
    You haven’t demonstrated any such relationship between the National Debt, and the New Deal. Nor have you demonstrated that any programs of the New Deal were unsuccessful. I’m sure some were. But you haven’t mentioned them. So…none of that stuff was successful? Some of it was successful?
    We’re still in the Great Depression?
    Do you read your comments? Do they make sense to you? In what way?
    Are you drawing some sort of cause-and-effect from chronology?
    The Great Depression led to the New Deal, which led to the growth of the National Debt?
    Were there any world wars in there, somewhere? Would world war contribute to growth of the National Debt?
    Did the Charleston dance craze lead to the Great Depression? It did precede the Great Depression. Must’ve caused it, right?
    So, dancing the Charleston led to growth in the National Debt?
    OK, thanks for your patience. I finally understand your logic.

    1. BTW, in the discussion of whether stimulus can generate economic activity it is completely irrelevant whether the government spending is on make work jobs in the New Deal, or the government spending is for payrolls to build B-17’s and TBF Avengers to carry the battle to the enemy.

      I don’t know much about the depression. But, there is serious discussion that FDR pivoted away from recovery under political pressure in much the same way that Obama pivoted from recovery and jobs.

      And I see no reason to believe that paying down the debt would be a reasonable measure of a recovery policy. As a rough first guess, it seem to me that a recovery policy would be judged by how it generates economic activity, new jobs – things like that.

  12. I’m baffled. What does the National Debt have to do with the Great Depression?
    No, not being passive, not being aggressive.
    Just baffled.

  13. Didn’t mean to double post but had to shift last message from the box.

    Okay, Economics is SIMPLE but greedy-lazy-rich people complicate it to extract more money on other peoples ignorance. Best book I’ve read on the subject is Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. Worst teachers are Keynse & Karl Marx. Basically its no different to your own personal or family budget, assuming you are not getting government handouts you did not originate. Divide the number of people in the USA into $7 trillion and ask if that’s a comfortable number. Now take all your net worth away from that negative number and see if you have a surplus… Anybody?! Even if you personally have a surplus, I think you would rather see the government not print more money and devalue every bill you have every day. Unless you are profiting from the devaluation, putting you in the greedy-lazy category.

    1. “Divide the number of people in the USA into $7 trillion and ask if that’s a comfortable number. Now take all your net worth away from that negative number and see if you have a surplus…”

      OK, I will bite, what is $7trillon dollars. I am going to guess a type and we should divide $17.7 trillion by 320 million to get per capita debt.

      if that is right, then I am with you so far.

      But I don’t think the comparison is a good way to view the debt. And If I thought that kind of comparison were reasonable I would argue that we ought to compare per capita debt with per capita net worth. BTW, net worth for individuals is about $81.7 trillion.

      If you you compare per capita debt and per capita net worth you get a surplus of $198,000. But I think there are better ways to understand the debt.

    1. Bob – are you being deliberately obtuse? The National Debt and its growth has to do with the unsuccessful programs of the New Deal which have to do with the Great Depression.

  14. RWW- Were you being sarcastic or serious? Surely you don’t think ‘stimulus spending’ does anything more than redistribute your tax dollars to an unneedful corporation!(this box won’t get out of here….)

  15. Paul,
    The Second World War still has nothing to do with the failure or success of the New Deal.
    WW II ended shortly before I was born. Too late to do anything about it, now.

    None of this has much to do with the current National Debt.
    Concentric irrelevancies.

  16. Mr. Oliver,
    Your attempt to analyze my style via pop-psychological references is a departure from civil intercourse…oops…Freudian slip!
    But sometimes, a cigar is just a pencil.

    Please re-read my comment, including the last line:
    “The non-existent free market can’t handle anything.”

    Still unclear? Try this:
    Santa Claus can’t handle anything.
    The Cat in the Hat can’t handle anything.
    Unicorns can’t handle anything.
    Should we try to employ their aid, anyway?


    Yes, you may not have learned that reasoning in high school. That would explain a lot.
    Was that too aggressive?
    Not passive enough?

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