Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Running Out the Debt Clock

Presidents are perennially concerned with their legacies. Especially after l'affaire Monica Lewinsky, such a concern was said to animate President Clinton's final years in office. Now, even if Iraq is somehow resurrected from its black hole of violence , President Bush can rest assured he will have a legacy as well. In the history books of the future, may well be known as the man who broke the national debt clock.

Conceived in the Reagan era and erected in 1989 south of Times Square, a giant ticker has displayed the rising of the national debt, dollar by dollar (except in those heady Clinton years when, because the clock was not designed to run backwards, it was shrouded in red, white and blue until, sure enough, President Bush pressed it back into service in 2002). The problem? Well, the clock is only designed to display a 13-digit number.
Sometime in the next two years, the total amount of US government borrowing is going to break through the 10-trillion-dollar mark and, lacking space for the extra digit such a figure would require, the clock is in danger of running itself into obsolescence.
Way to go, President Bush! Thanks so much for that $300 tax refund. That'll take the edge off of my family's approximate $90,000 share of the debt. What a triumph for conservatism, and compassionate, too!
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