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Debt Tops $8 Trillion!
October, 2005

I didn't see any headlines about the National Debt on October 18th or 19th. It's hard to understand why not.

On October 18th, 2005, the National Debt rose by more than $7.2 billion, to an accumulated total of $8,003,897,406,911. For the first time ever, our nation owed more than $8 trillion!

The next day, the total dipped back below the $8 trillion mark, but only for a day. At the end of October, the debt was over the $8 trillion threshold by more than $27 billion.

There is nothing especially significant about the $8 trillion debt level. The debt and its consequences were apalling when the debt was only $5 trillion, or even lower. But we love to mark round-number events, like a baseball player's 1000th hit, or the 30th anniversary of a rock-star's death. The attainment of any 8 trillion milestone is significant, no matter what the subject of the record. I can't think of anything that has been counted to that magnitude in my lifetime. Even McDonald's, the greatest pop-culture product counter of all, quit counting hamburgers at a hundred billion.

Eight trillion of anything is a virtually unimaginable quantity. The impending economic catastrophe that can spring from an eight trillion dollar debt is unthinkable.


copyright © 2008, J. C. Adamson