Reach for the stars to comprehend national debt

Let’s put the national debt and the debt ceiling in perspective. The national debt is over $16 trillion – an astronomical number.

To understand the enormity of this figure, consider this comparison: Sixteen trillion in miles is almost three light-years. The vast distances to stars beyond our solar system are measured in light-years. One light-year is 6 trillion miles, which is the distance that light travels in one year at the speed of 186,000 miles per second. A traveler moving at the speed of light would circumnavigate the Earth at the equator seven and a half times in just one second.

According to Dr. Ben Carson, it would take more than a half-billion years to count to 16 trillion if one counted one number every second.

Recently, the federal government raised the debt ceiling to add to this astronomical debt. I refer here to an explanation of the debt ceiling that circulated via the Internet. Because nobody in government understands the debt ceiling, the writer explained it this way: “Let’s say you come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood. Your home has sewage all the way up to your ceiling. What do you think you should do? Raise the ceilings or pump out the (stuff)?” You be the judge.

John Mazur