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The Gross National Debt

History was made on August 17, 2006, but there was no fanfare. According to the Bureau of Public Debt, the national debt hit an all time high - 8.5 trillion dollars ($8,500,000,000,000).

Your share of the debt is $28,380. In fact, the share of debt is $28,380 for each and every one of the other 2,999,500 people who live in America. But don't worry, you don't have to pay it off - future generations will pick up the tab.

You don't even have to pay a dime towards reducing the debt - you only have to pay about $1,419 in interest (at 5%) per year. Of course, each year you may have to pay more than that as the debt continues to spiral upward. The government has never paid off even a nickel of debt in the last 45 years, according to the Bureau of Public Debt.

This new $8.5 trillion national debt is not to be confused with the $5.8 trillion national debt that existed at the end of fiscal year 2001, the year Bush took office. That was 2.7 trillion dollars ago. The federal government is very good at borrowing money. It has borrowed $9,015 on behalf of each one of 299,500,000 people since Bush took office.

The $2.7 trillion that has been borrowed since 2001 should not be confused with the federal budget of $2.71 trillion for fiscal year 2006. This represents the amount the federal government has spent on behalf of all Americans. It works out to about $9,048 for each American.

If you feel that the government should have spent more than $9,048 on your behalf, quit complaining. Bush is coming to the rescue. He proposes spending $2.77 trillion for fiscal year 2007. That works out to $9,248 for every man, woman and child in America. I hope you get your money's worth.

This article contributed by Tom Blanton of Richmond, Virginia.