What Does Debt Look Like?

In less than two weeks, America will hit the deadline for a deal to get done that would raise the debt ceiling, or run the risk of the country going into default (if you believe the default-or-nothing rhetoric that is). But default or not, we will still face a nearly $15 trillion debt that will be difficult to pay down, regardless of how big the “grand bargain” Washington is cooking up will be.

Did you know, though, that $15 trillion is mere peanuts compared to another barometer of our debt? You see, there is another measure, called “unfunded obligations,” which is how much money the federal government needs to fund entitlements and other non-discresionary spending programs that it won’t have in the future. The number is calculated based on demographic changes and potential future tax reciepts. The amount on that: $114 trillion.

To give you an idea on how much money that is, a website called wtfnoway.com divided our debt into $100 bills, and put the amount of money we owe into a visual presentation that truly captures how much we’re going to owe if we don’t make needed changes to the system soon.

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