Steadfast FinancesWhat's Worse than Trillions on the National Debt Clock? Try the Carbon Counter!

What’s Worse than Trillions on the National Debt Clock? Try the Carbon Counter!

Filed in Consumer Education , Green Living 13 comments

What could be more eye opening than the National Debt Clock with a few trillion dollars up for display?

Our National Debt

Try the new Carbon Counter courtesy of Deutsche Bank.


According to Deutsche Bank’s website:

The Carbon Counter displays the running total amount of long-lived greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons) in the earth’s atmosphere, measured in metric tons.

I couldn’t be happier to see this.  The sad fact is that we’re borrowing from our children’s future, and calling it Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

If anyone disagrees with me, just remember that the dollar may influence our lives today, but it’s pretty worthless if you don’t have a habitable planet where you can use it.
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by Kevin Krejci

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Posted by CJ   @   18 June 2009 13 comments
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Jun 19, 2009
8:41 am
#1 J. Money :

Daaaaaang, that’s pretty bold when you look at it that way…scary.

Jun 19, 2009
2:22 pm
#2 Matt Jabs :

IMHO – I’m more alarmed by gov’t motivation to charge “world citizens” a global carbon tax for the cause. For me this introduces an element of, “are things really as bad as the gov’t agencies are leading us to believe?” into the mix.

Honestly the subject is too deep to get into in this blog post comment, so suffice to know my opinion for now… :-)

There, that outta get some minds churning! ;-)

Jun 19, 2009
2:32 pm
#3 Matt SF :

Exactly! Better to have thinking minds than those who keep their heads stuck in the proverbial sand!

Jul 5, 2009
7:48 pm
#4 bbrian017 :

Go America go! :) I guess it could be worse!

Jul 5, 2009
7:59 pm
#5 Matt :

Thanks for commenting Brian. And yeah, it could be worse! Just trying to keep things in perspective.

Jul 5, 2009
8:11 pm
#6 bbrian017 :

Perspective is the perfect word! See what they want to do is ignore the cost and consider it some sort of natural survival get in debt get out of debt deal.

I bet if we knew everything in perspective to what our governments were doing (American or Canadian) we would be extremely disappointed and upset.

Cool blog you got here Matt I’m really happy you decided to submit something over at blognegage.

p.s. thanks for fixing the spelling mistake earlier!

Jul 13, 2009
8:20 am
#7 Tim :

I’ll leave the carbon clock alone, but let’s talk about the national debt…

Here is a riddle for you: To whom do we owe all that money?

The answer is “ourselves.” It’s not like we borrowed it all from someone else and now have to make sacrifices to pay it all back. This is not personal finance. We borrow money from ourselves and spend it back into the economy which then becomes our income. We pay taxes on that income (which are again spent back into the economy) and part of it goes to service the interest on the debt. But we are the debt holders, so we are just paying interest to ourselves. In the aggregate it is a complete wash.

Despite how the media makes it sound, only a very small portion is actually borrowed from foreign nations. And even that is not as bad as you think. Foreign investment is what makes a currency strong.

I know I’m just banging my head against the wall here. “Debt is bad” is so well entrenched in conventional wisdom that I’m sure nobody is listening.

Jul 13, 2009
9:29 am
#8 Matt :

No head banging required Tim since you’ve got at least one person listening… me! ;-)

I agree with you that most people outside the financial realm are not aware that we (the US government and US based financial firms) own a substantial proportion of the “national debt”. Why this fact isn’t mentioned, or adequately explained on a continual basis, I do not know. Apparently it’s not a sexy enough topic or main stream media doesn’t seem to do the investigative journalism thing unless it involves celebrity dirt.

The latest data I’ve seen was ~$3.62 Trillion owed in combined international debt (see Treasury Dept data) with China leading the foreign investors at $764 Billion. That’s around 30+ percent, so while it doesn’t look as $3.6T isn’t nearly as bad as $11.5T, it’s still a hefty chunk of change.

Thanks for the comment!

Jul 13, 2009
11:09 am
#9 Tim :

Your figures are correct, but this foreign investment/borrowing is not very well understood in itself.

Most people imagine that our government is standing on the street corner holding out a cup and begging for China’s money so that we can pay the bills. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. We just put the debt on the market and countries like China rush in to make purchases no matter how low the interest rate. They do so in order to keep our Dollar strong, their exports cheap, and their unemployment rate low. In fact both the Bush and Obama administrations have at times tried to get China to *stop* buying so much of our debt so that the Dollar can weaken against the Yuan. The result would be more expensive imports, but greater global demand for US exports and more jobs.

70% of our debt and deficit spending is a non-issue. 30% has real economic consequences, but the consequences aren’t all bad. It’s something to be discussed. Unfortunately the discussion is muddled by confusion and people who like to use big numbers and half-truths to scare people and push their political agenda. All of it serves not to “open eyes” but rather to distract us from the real economic issues and solutions.

I’m afraid, by the way, that the “carbon clock” might be more of the same.

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