Want to scare your kids into spending less and saving more? Show them the national debt clock.
I was inspired by my friend Charlie Cooper's column over on CBS News.com to take a look at it. Charlie points out that the Republicans are looking increasingly like a bunch of asshats (my words, not his) by ignoring the genuine signs of economic recovery in their singular and quixotic desire to puke all over President Obama, no matter how good the news is.
And while I am thrilled that we do seem to be on the road to some sort of recovery, we still have a $12 trillion dollar credit card bill to pay off. Or, I should say, your kids have to pay it off. (And let me remind my Republican friends that President Bush took over the country with a budget surplus and then spent us back into deficits like a drunken frat boy might if he were elected president.)
So, I went over the debt counter and hit "Refresh" on my browser. Thirty seconds later, I hit refresh again. In that time span, the national debt increased by about $1.5 million dollars. So that's $3 million per minute or $180 million per hour or $4.3 billion per day or about $1.6 trillion per year.
Seriously - gather the kids around the iPad and try it for yourself. Then say "Timmy - we can buy you that new Nintendo game now, or you can live somewhere other than a Chinese refrigerator box when you are 21. Take your pick."