U.S. national debt: $30,000 per American

Like a ticking time bomb, the U.S. national debt is an explosion waiting to happen. It's expanding by about $1.4 billion a day — or nearly $1 million a minute. It means almost $30,000 in debt for each man, woman, child and infant in the United States.

The national debt — the total accumulation of annual budget deficits — which stands at a mind-numbing $9.13 trillion — up from $5.7 trillion when President Bush took office in January 2001. It will top $10 trillion sometime right before or right after he leaves in January 2009.

That's $10,000,000,000,000.00, or one digit more than an odometer-style "national debt clock" near New York's Times Square can handle. (When the privately owned automated clock was activated in 1989, the national debt was $2.7 trillion.)

Of this debt, Japan [holds] $586 billion, followed by China ($400 billion) and Britain ($244 billion). Saudi Arabia and other oil-exporting countries account for $123 billion, according to the Treasury.

[The Associated Press]

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