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Math is hard, let’s go to the mall!

I suck at math. I’m not proud of this. I have a feeling some of the most interesting stuff of all requires math and I resent that I can’t share. (My grandmother was an algebra teacher, can you believe? Which goes to show there’s a lot we don’t understand about heredity).

So the Obama years (including, to be fair, a big chunk of the Bush years) have been tough for me. All them big numbers. I could swear there was a time when a billion dollars was a lot of money. Why, we even got exercised over hundreds of millions. A few nervous nellies thought we shouldn’t waste money by hundreds of thousands, but who’re they kidding?

So with the US debt inching up to $17 trillion, I’m completely at a loss. I need a nice simple visual aid to help me wrap my brain around that number. Luckily, I found one.

Ready? The value of the United Kingdom — the whole thing — the land, buildings, cars, currency, oil, ­patents, livestock, bank accounts, even little chikkens is £7.3 trillion. That’s about $11 trillion in dollars (by today’s exchange rate. Have to watch that. If my calculations are correct — and they’re probably not — a penny difference in the rate amounts to $73,000,000,000).

The good news is, the chunk of US national debt that is held by the public is around $12 trillion. That means if you paid off your credit cards, you guys could pool your money and buy Great Britain. With a trillion in walking around money left over. And the good news is, it comes with its own fully socialized medical system, already in place!

You have all weekend to make this happen.

August 16, 2013 — 10:35 pm
Comments: 29