Our Amazing Debt (Cosmos Parodoy)


In preparation for Reason’s latest parody video I’ve spent a lot of time trying to grasp just how ginormous twenty trillion dollars actually is. Some of the (mathematically questionable) analogies I came up with, but scrapped are: 

  • If you listened to “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John twenty trillion times, it would last longer than the universe itself has existed.
  • If you stacked twenty trillion towers of Jenga blocks together they would extend well past Pluto. 

That would never happen, of course, because God would knock over any tower that high to punish you for your hubris. (See: Genesis 11:1)

The reason the size of the debt is important is because most economists agree that, at some point, national debts become unsustainable. If and when that happens, creditors quit buying bonds. At which point we either gut pretty much every government program, from Medicare to the Army, or we hyperinflate currency to the point that you would need a trashcan full of billion dollar bills to purchase a hamburger. And even then someone would mug you for your trashcan. 

So hopefully we’ll keep a step ahead of those nervous creditors a bit longer. Long enough for me to buy another turtleneck, anyway: I think I look cool in those.

 Andrew Heaton is a writer and standup comedian in New York City. If this post made you laugh or think, kindly "like" it on Facebook.

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