Industrial Insight

We owe more than all the money in the world, more than everyone on the planet can produce in a single year! | October 18, 2010

Our Debt Is More Than All the Money in the World

September 9, 2010 5:32 P.M. By Kevin D. Williamson

I have argued that the real national debt is about $130 trillion. Let’s say I’m being pessimistic. /Forbes/, in a 2008 article, came up with a lower number: $70 trillion . Let’s say the sunny optimists at /Forbes/ got it right and I got it wrong.

For perspective: At the time that 2008 article was written, the entire supply of money in the world (“broad money,” i.e., global M3, meaning cash, consumer-account deposits, checkable accounts, CDs, long-term deposits, travelers’ checks, money-market funds, the whole enchilada) was estimated to be just under $60 trillion. Which is to say: The optimistic view is that our outstanding obligations amount to /more than all of the money in the world/.

Global GDP in 2008? Also about $60 trillion. Meaning that the optimistic view is that our federal obligations outpace /the entire annual economic output of human civilization/.


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