Size of United States National Debt and International Comparison Discussion

Have you ever thought about the size of the U.S. national debt? Have you pondered the literal size or weight of it? How large is the U.S. national debt right now, and more important, how do you make sense of a number that large?

How high would the debt stack if it were represented with $1 bills? What if it were represented with the largest denomination in circulation today? How much area would the debt cover if it were represented with a single layer of $1 bills? Could you carpet the United States with its own debt? How much would the debt weigh if it were represented with $1 bills? What if it were represented with quarters?

How long would it take the country to pay off the national debt if everyone contributed at a certain rate? How does our national debt compare to the economy of another country? Use some international comparison to put it into perspective.

For this discussion, you will post at least twice – 1) an initial post, and then 2) a reply to a classmate.

For your initial post

Answer questions 1 and 2 below.

  1. Answer both parts:
    • Part a: How big is the national debt right now? Research this question online, post an answer and where you found the answer.
    • Part b: What is the population of the United States?
  2. Answer one of these questions:
    • Using the national debt figure that you found and the population figure, what is the amount of national debt per person in the U.S.?
    • If each person in the U.S. contributed $100 each year, how many years would it take to pay off the national debt?
    • If we wanted to pay off the national debt in 10 years, how much would each person have to pay per year?