In October, the National Debt Clock in New York City ran out of room for the growing number of digits in our national debt. Now the Peter G. Peterson Foundation has created a new way to show the world exactly how out-of-hand our unprecedented debt has become.
First, some back story on the clock. In 1989, a real estate magnate named Seymour Durst installed the National Debt Clock near Times Square. But instead of minutes and hours, this clock calculates our federal debt, using figures from the U.S. Treasury. The clock serves as a reminder to everyone who passes that the government owes more to the public (in the form of Treasury bills and savings bonds), and more to itself (in the form of money it borrows from one pot to spend on another) with each passing single day.
When Durst installed the clock in 1989, the debt was $2.7 trillion. Now, with our national debt just cracking $10 trillion, the clock has simply run out of room to display new numbers.
As a blogger, we thought you and your readers might be interested in how the Peter G. Peterson Foundation is using social networking to spread the word. Check out our National Debt Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nationaldebt today. By following the national debt on Twitter, you'll receive a daily tweet of the national debt as reported by the Treasury Department.
Although this official number is the most commonly-cited national debt, it doesn't scratch the surface of the actual federal fiscal burden. Even though the official number just broke $10 trillion, the actual estimate - including all our government's obligations, like Social Security and Medicare - actually totals more than $57 trillion. Learn more about the real national debt here.
Visit http://www.twitter.com/nationaldebt to start following the national debt today, and whether or not you're on Twitter, please help spread the word!