We all do.

All of us Americans owe the United States government thirty thousand dollars. 30,000 dollars! - that's the amount that every American alive today, including all of our children, owes as his or her share of the national debt that now stands at 9.13 trillion dollars.

When President Bush took office in January, 2001, the national debt was 5.7 trillion dollars. When he leaves office in January of 2009, the national debt will be over 10 trillion dollars. That's 10,000,000,000,000.00 dollars!

To get an idea of how huge that number is, let's look at some distances in miles.

The distance around the Earth at the equator is around 25,000 miles and that's 0.0000000025 percent of 10 trillion miles.

The distance to the Moon varies, of course. But on average the moon is 238,856 miles away. That is 0.0000000238856 percent of 10 trillion miles.

The distance to Mars varies by a huge amount due to the fact that Mars' orbit around the sun is 1.5 times further out than is the Earth's orbit. So as they race around the Sun, Earth having the inside track -so to speak- often overtakes and passes Mars. But the average smallest distance between Mars and Earth is 48 million miles. And that's only 0.0000048 percent of ten trillion.

Let's go big! How many miles is it to the furtherest edge of our Solar System? That would be 3,666 million miles. The spacecraft Pioneer 10 left Earth on March 2, 1972 and reached the distance at which Neptune and Pluto orbit the Sun in June of 1983. So Pioneer 10 spent well over 11 years flying at a whopping 32,400 mph to reach to reach the edge of our Solar System. Yet 3,666 million miles is just 0.0003666 percent of ten trillion miles.

Another way to better understand how large a number ten trillion is, is to compare the heights of stacks of varying numbers of dollar bills.

The thickness of a single one dollar bill measures .0043 inches or .0000000679 miles.

The height of a stack of 1,000 one dollar bills measures 4.3 inches.

The height of a stack of one million one dollar bills measures 4,300 inches or 358 feet which is about the height of a 35 story building.

The height of a stack of 1,000,000,000 (one billion) one dollar bills measures 358,510 feet or 67.9 miles. This would reach from the Earth's surface into the outer layer of the Earth's atmosphere.

The height of a stack of 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) one dollar bills measures 67,866 miles. This would reach more than one fourth the way from the surface of the Earth to the Moon.

The national debt is ten times greater than that number.

Ten trillion dollars is an astronomically huge amount of money.

Here you can watch the National Debt climb as the interest to the Debt is applied to the principle. I've set the actual number to refresh every 10 seconds and this works in most but not all browsers.

This is data furnished by the United States Department of the Treasury.

Paying interest on money borrowed mostly from other nations to service this soon to be 10 trillion dollar debt is costing us 1.4 billion dollars a day or nearly

1 million dollars a minute!

To verify the accuracy of everything stated on this page simply click the link below.

Reference: Associated Press story by Tom Raum

Scoroncocolo Inc 2007