By the Numbers - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

By the Numbers

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“1 trillion dollars!”

“Billions of dollars…”

“1.2 trillion dollars.”

“Trillions and trillions of dollars.”

Yes, a billion is a thousand million, and a trillion is a thousand billion, but I have no idea how much that really is, because I can't imagine a billion of anything, much less a trillion.

Last year, the federal government spent about $3.8 trillion dollars.

But Washington collected much less in taxes--about $2.5 trillion dollars.

To stay afloat for the year the government had to rack up $1.2 trillion in debt - just for this year.

That pushed our overall debt past $15 trillion dollars.

To try to get us back on track financially the government cut its spending by $38 billion dollars. Sounds like a big number doesn't it?

It's all overwhelming!

But there is a way to understand it--by cutting it down to size.

Erasing eight zeros from all these numbers will turn the federal figures into a family budget:

The family spends $38,000 a year...

But it earns only $25,000...

That means new debt--credit cards or loans--of $13,000 just this year.

Like Washington - this family is already deep in debt and overspending this year pushes the family's overall debt to $150,000.

When you're in such a dire financial situation, you really need to make big cuts to your spending.

But the only thing this family is going to do is spend $380 less a year - $380!

No one would run a family budget like that so why are we running our country that way?

The word for it is "unsustainable."

And now we can all understand why.

(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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