We're going to have to start using a new nomenclature to describe the unbelievable amounts of money being thrown around by the federal government.
Instead of $1 billion, we should say "1 drop" as in "A drop in the bucket." And for $1 trillion we should instead say "1 Obamaunit" which seems a lot less scary and slightly more understandable than trying to grasp just how much a trillion dollars really is:
With President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats considering a massive spending package aimed at pulling the nation out of recession, the national debt is projected to jump by as much as $2 trillion this year, an unprecedented increase that could test the world's appetite for financing U.S. government spending.
For now, investors are frantically stuffing money into the relative safety of the U.S. Treasury, which has come to serve as the world's mattress in troubled times. Interest rates on Treasury bills have plummeted to historic lows, with some short-term investors literally giving the government money for free.
But about 40 percent of the debt held by private investors will mature in a year or less, according to Treasury officials. When those loans come due, the Treasury will have to borrow more money to repay them, even as it launches perhaps the most aggressive expansion of U.S. debt in modern history.
With the government planning to roll over its short-term loans into more stable, long-term securities, experts say investors are likely to demand a greater return on their money, saddling taxpayers with huge new interest payments for years to come. Some analysts also worry that foreign investors, the largest U.S. creditors, may prove unable to absorb the skyrocketing debt, undermining confidence in the United States as the bedrock of the global financial system.
Well, I don't know about you but I feel a lot better. It's good to know that Obama will lead "the most aggressive expansion of US debt in modern history" by stretching the limit of the US Treasury to keep the dollar from falling off a cliff and borrowing incredible amounts of money, safe in the realization that the people who will have to pay it back - our grandchildren - probably won't have the heart to give us the good beating we deserve when we're in our dotage.
Next up: The Great Inflation.