I.O.U.S.A. on steroids

Don't look now, but the national debt has exploded ever since Lehman Bros. blew up.

Indeed, I.O.U.S.A. has gone further into the hole over the last six weeks than it did in the entire year preceding.

Addison looked at some of the figures last week in the 5 Min. Forecast, extrapolating the figures from October 1 through October 15 to yield a hypothetical national debt of $17 trillion a year from now.  And you can play with the numbers yourself at the Treasury Department website.  But here's some more of the story.

On Friday, September 14, 2007 — a year before Lehman Bros. went under — the national debt totaled $9,017,119,869,519.37.

On Friday, September 12, 2008 — the last business day before Lehman Bros. went to investment-bank heaven — the national debt totaled $9,683,319,152,145.35.

That's a one-year increase of $666 billion dollars (which of course is a lot more than the officially stated "federal deficit" figure, but that's another story) or 7.4%.

As of last Friday, October 24 — the last date available — the total is $10,523,955,355,856.66.

So in six weeks the national debt has jumped $840 billion, or 8.7%.

The previous $840 billion jump took nearly 18 months.  This one took six weeks.

$200 billion of that $840 billion, give or take, came in a mere three-day span after the House rejected the bailout bill and the Dow made its epic 777-point drop.

Ambitious readers might want to plot this on a chart; my own attempt to paste the numbers into Excel was more trouble than it was worth.  But I can only imagine the national debt is, as chart fanatics might say, "going parabolic."

The Daily Reckoning