Thingish Things

Mr. Obama’s Debt Request

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 12•12


U.S. Taxpayers Now Owe Almost the Total Cost of WWII. Germany's Dresden in late 1944 shown here.

The U.S. D-Day Museum estimates the total economic cost of WWII — all nations combined — at $1.6 trillion. One could spend two lifetimes itemizing the destruction wrought during that war on Europe and Asia, and the staggering amount of war materials used therein by the Allied and Axis powers. Many, many cities were flattened to the ground in World War II and had to be rebuilt. Tens of millions of troops had to be paid, fed, clothed (and buried); more airplanes, tanks, ships, and munitions were assembled than ever before.  The period between 1939 and 1945 constituted the largest mobilization and destruction of man and materiel in human history. 

President Obama announced today that he will be asking the Congress to raise the debt limit (borrow) an extra $1.2 trillion. The practice has become almost routine, and his request will not even be the biggest story of the day tomorrow. 

Sure, $1.6 trillion in 1945 and $1.2 trillion in 2012 are apples and oranges when inflation is considered. (The total cost of WWII would be around $19 trillion today, according to back-of-the-napkin math.) But it’s instructive, I think, to get a sense of just how much the federal government is borrowing these days. With our debt now exceeding $15 trillion we almost owe the combined cost of all of the Second World War, with no post-war industrial boom in sight. 

And many in government want to spend and borrow more. It’s too frightening to consider. 

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