You Wanna Talk Money?

This in from the Unit­ed Press yesterday:

WASHINGTON, March 16 — The Sen­ate vot­ed Thurs­day to increase the nation­al debt lim­it to almost $9 tril­lion, the fourth hike since Pres­i­dent George W. Bush took office.

The vote was 52–48, with three Repub­li­cans join­ing Sen­ate Democ­rats in oppo­si­tion, the New York Times reported.

Sen. Charles Grass­ley, R‑Iowa, head of the Finance Com­mit­tee, urged a vote for the bill, blam­ing the increase in fed­er­al spend­ing on the Iraq war and nation­al security.

Pam and I were talk­ing about the fact that the US will soon be mov­ing from tril­lions (1,000,000,000,000) to 10-tril­lions (10,000,000,000,000). Gee, if they keep this up, they can move from 10 to the 12th pow­er to the next big num­ber, 10 to the 15th pow­er, or a quadrillion.

If these num­bers don’t make any sense, maybe this will: The Share of the Nation­al Debt for every US cit­i­zen is now at about $27,729.20. Accord­ing to my research, that’s just about the cost of a 2006 Toy­ota Prius. So in the U.S., every Man, Woman and Child owes the equiv­a­lent of a Prius.

I often say that we left the US for polit­i­cal rea­sons, but much of it comes from not want­i­ng to be in the mid­dle of the the com­ing fis­cal melt­down. We won’t be entire­ly insu­lat­ed from it here in Cana­da (far from it, in fact), but I like to think that we’ve moved our­selves slight­ly out of way.

It’s hard to believe that just before we left, I was talk­ing about the decline of the US in these terms:

…It’s not only about hat­ing (yes, I must admit it, I hate) the man who sits in the Oval Office, as well as the craven Vice Pres­i­dent. It’s not only about how the coun­try is cloud­ed over with signs that read ‘Call 311 for sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty’ and TV Net­works that spew polit­i­cal pro­pa­gan­da that Prav­da would have been hap­py to print or broad­cast. It’s not only about more home­less on the street with no atten­tion paid to their plight, or the fact that chil­dren no longer learn music or art in many pub­lic schools, or that peo­ple seem to think that a mag­net­ic rib­bon on their gaso­line-gulp­ing SUV con­sti­tutes sup­port for the troops in a war that just goes on and on as far as the eye can see. It’s not only the grow­ing cul­ti­va­tion of reli­gious fanat­ics, both here (the Chris­tians) and abroad (the Mus­lims). It’s not only the fact that athe­ists are not even con­sid­ered cit­i­zens and sci­en­tists are seen once again as heretics for teach­ing the facts of evo­lu­tion. As far as I look on the hori­zon, I see decline for the US, social­ly, polit­i­cal­ly, intel­lec­tu­al­ly, eco­nom­i­cal­ly, and philosophically…

Gee, not only was I depress­ing, but I was­n’t even close to how bad it could get. As Sarah Vow­ell (who I must admit, I sort of have an intel­lec­tu­al crush on) said on the Dai­ly Show last month: “I talk about going to [Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s] Inau­gu­ra­tion and cry­ing when he took the oath, ’cause I was so afraid he was going to ‘wreck the econ­o­my and muck up the drink­ing water’… the fail­ure of my pes­simistic imag­i­na­tion at that moment bog­gles my mind now.”

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