The Congressional Budget Office says that the budget deficit for 2009 — through only the first six months of the year — has surpassed $1 trillion. That’s a lot of zeros for only six months.
How big is a trillion? The NASA website says that one trillion seconds equals 31,546 years.
The rate at which we are spending ourselves into a deep well of debt is frightening, and the long-term costs of financing that debt will be staggering. Every dollar in future federal budgets that will go toward paying interest on that debt — and which will largely be paid to foreign investors — will be a dollar that cannot be spent on schools, or roads, or other governmental projects or services.
Protests apparently are starting up again in Iran after a hiatus that occurred following the government crackdown. Logically, there are at least two possible reasons for the sudden reemergence of such public dissent. The first possibility is that there has been some kind of subtle political change, undetected by Western observers, that has signalled that such protests will be tolerated. The other possibility is that the protestors have simply become impatient and are going to force the issue, whatever the consequences. Let’s hope it is the former, but we should know soon enough.
Here’s an interesting and, I think, balanced take on the stimulus package, six months later — how much has been spent, how much hasn’t been spent, and why. If there really is serious consideration of a second stimulus package (and I hope there isn’t) this kind of article should be required reading for lawmakers.