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The U.S. National Debt Superhighway

Friday October 3rd, 2014   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 6:14am PDT   •  

ii-map-2790-miles-nyc-to-la The national debt is that it is so big that it can be difficult to describe the magnitude of the nation’s liabilities in terms that make sense on a human scale.

That didn’t stop Mick Teufel from trying, though! Here’s his attempt to describe the size of the national debt using the metaphor that anyone who has ever driven or ridden in a car might appreciate:

Imagine 250 lanes of Cadillac Premium Edition Escalades (manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $81,190) placed bumper to bumper going from New York to Los Angeles (2,790 miles). This is an illustration of how much our national debt is. Our debt has been a problem for many years; however, it has been greatly accelerating the last 14 years.

According to the Department of Transportation, the minimum width for a freeway lane in the United States, not including shoulders or curbs, is 12 feet (3.6 meters). With 250 lanes side-by-side, the U.S. debt superhighway would be 3,000 feet wide (900 meters).

That’s some gridlock!

But more to the point, if the federal government had actually borrowed all the money it has for the purpose of buying and parking so many of GM’s Cadillac division’s luxury gas guzzlers on a superhighway between New York and Los Angeles, the national debt would be visible from low Earth orbit.

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October 2014