My mind wandered seriously far afield while perusing some of the Obama / McCain ads.
So, I went a-googling around a bit with some random questions and got rough answers:
The national debt is roughly three times the national budget. (Imagine having a credit card with 3x your annual income racked up on it!)
Fortunately, only 10% of our tax dollars go to making the minimum interest payments. (It'd be 20% to 30% of our income if we owed 3x what we made yearly!)
10% of our yearly tax dollars.
That's more than the annual budget for Education, Transporation & Vet Benefits combined.
That's around of the budget for the Military... for half a year.
And that 10% doesn't help reduce the debt... or help pay for those "must have now" expenses of years past.
Think of it this way:
* You *NEED* a spiffy new $1200 large LCD television, so you use your credit card.
* Every month you make the minimum payment of $10. ($120 each year).
* Ten years later, the TV breaks down, you need another.
* Your check your credit card statement. It says: You still owe us $1200.
* You lament in vain: But I've already paid you $1200 for the TV!
* You take your credit card to the store and... buy a new $1200 television anyway,
* 10 years later you've paid enough in interest to buy two new TVs.
... and you haven't even started paying for the ones you bought yet.
Now... see, the government wanted this spiffy new war back in 2002. Had to have it. Of course, they probably haven't even started paying off the loans for the previous war... or the war before that.
The only way for the government to rack up more debt (and still manage to pay for everything else) is to devalue the U.S. dollar. Weaker dollar means higher prices, demand for higher pay and.. of course, more tax dollars. With enough inflation, the government could keep the ratio of tax used for interest payments around 10%.
Which works fine until dollars bills become cheaper than toilet paper.
Which reminds me... San Francisco is considering christening their largest sewage works the "George W. Bush Sewage Plant". Hmm.