In my time as an astrophysicist I got used to, well, astronomical numbers. So there are several hundred billion galaxies each boasting several hundred billion stars. That’s cool. Not least because some might have solar systems where they can do economics but this is terrifying…
We are not having a debt crisis.
It’s important to make this point, because I keep seeing articles about the “fiscal cliff” that do, in fact, describe it — often in the headline — as a debt crisis. But it isn’t. The U.S. government is having no trouble borrowing to cover its deficit.
Paul Krugman in the NYT. If I raped and murdered a baby I would clearly be a Bad Man. Raping and murdering the countless millions to come though… As Keynes disgracefully said, “In the long-run we’re all dead.” Well, John me old silver that is looking like a very much shorter run these days.
Or to put it more bluntly it’s pretty much George Best arguing that he isn’t an alkie because the offie is still open for another fifteen minutes.
To be fair to Krugman in a technical sense he is right. The USA (and the rest of us) are not teetering on the “fiscal cliff” as much as well over it and doing 9.81m/s/s straight down and looking at some rocks most hard and pointy without a bungee. So, in a sense he is correct because we are beyond the crisis (the point of decision or whatever) and are already well and truly fucked.
So let’s watch a video…
Now bear in mind two things. The first is those are $100 bills and the largest generally circulated note in the USA is $20 and the USA doesn’t owe $1,000,000,000,000 but $17,000,000,000,000.
And that is just on record debts… If you include pensions, medicare/medicaid, assorted other Ponzi schemes I have heard estimates as high as $86,000,000,000,000.
Now if we work on a Coke costing roughly $1 I leave it as an exercise for the reader to work that one out as a visualization in 12 fl oz (355ml) Coke cans. Extra marks will be given for comparing that to the distance to various heavenly bodies and to the quantity of exploitable aluminium on the planet.
H/T – The Whited Sepulchre.