Feeds: Email, RSS & Twitter

Get Our Videos By Email


8,300 Unique Visitors In The Past Day


Powered by Squarespace


Search The Archive Of 15,000 Videos




Hank Paulson Is A Criminal - Pass It On

"The Federal Reserve Is A Ponzi Scheme"

Get Our Videos By Email


Bernanke's Replacement: Happy Hour In Santa Cruz

Must See: National Debt Road Trip

"Of Course We're Not Going To  Payback the Chinese."

Dave Chappelle On White Collar Crime

Carlin: Wall Street Owns Washington

SLIDESHOW - Genius Signs From Irish IMF Protest

SLIDESHOW - Airport Security Cartoons - TSA

Most Recent Comments
Cartoons & Photos
« Joe Kernen: "We Will Never Think About AIG Without Thinking About The Counterparties (Goldman Sachs) Who got 100 Cents On The Dollar" (NEW VIDEO) | Main | FASB to Fold on Mark to Market -- Again! (Plus A Flying Humvee and 12 Other Stories -- Friday Morning Links) »

MUST SEE CHART: Sesame Street's Elmo Explains The National Debt

Two disturbing charts on the explosive growth of the national debt.  The second graphic illustrates how much new debt is being piled on every month.  It is the cost of this so-called recovery, and if people understood that cost, no one would think it was worth it.  Guest post from Mark McHugh.


     Email to a Friend



Guest post from regular contributor Mark McHugh.

Understanding the National Debt -- Sesame Street Edition

Keep It Simple, Stupid

Words to live by.  Remember that when someone starts explaining which way the smoke on an electric train is gonna blow, you should probably check your wallet.  

I’m tired of convoluted explanations of simple problems.  It distracts people from the truth, which is usually the intent of those doing the explaining.  The end result is large numbers of people pretending to understand things they don’t.  Bernie Madoff’s “success”,  ETFs, Treasury auctions,   the housing market. 

The easiest way to confuse people is with numbers so mind-numbingly  big they mean nothing to the average person.  What’s 13 and a half Trillion dollars supposed to mean to Joe Sixpack?  This is the best I could come up with:


chart: elmo explains the national debt

Can you say “Unsustainable”?

Another way to confuse people is with words.  Focus, if you will, on just two words from the Purposes page of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008:

The purposes of this chapter are—

(1) to immediately provide authority and facilities that the Secretary of the Treasury can use to restore liquidity and stability to the financial system of the United States; and

(2) to ensure that such authority and such facilities are used in a manner that—

(A) protects home values, college funds, retirement accounts, and life savings;

 (B) preserves homeownership and promotes jobs and economic growth;

(C) maximizes overall returns to the taxpayers of the United States; and

(D) provides public accountability for the exercise of such authority.

Protect values.  Sounds downright noble, doesn’t it?  It does until you think about what those words really mean in this context.  The inescapable conclusion is:

Protecting values means distorting prices

In order to distort prices, you must distort markets.  Sure, that Commodore 64 you bought in ’82 would still be worth 600 bucks if we had outlawed improving computer design and Commodore would still be alive and well today.  Thankfully, no one concerned themselves with protecting the value of the C-64 and Commodore declared bankruptcy in 1994.  That’s how markets work and that’s why capitalism works.

Distorting prices and markets is an absolute fool’s game, so we find ourselves with a never-ending procession of Ivy League fucktards, who fancy themselves masters of the Universe, lining up to take a whack at it.  Yes, you can keep house prices up, if you can keep interest rates low, but in order to keep interest rates low, you  must rig the credit market.  To rig the credit market without destroying stock prices,  you must create money out of thin air to buy debt, which devalues your currency, so you have to hide it as much as you can.  So now you’re rigging the Forex and precious metals markets to cover your tracks…..

Next thing you know, you’re selling choppers to Saudi Arabia.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.   Everybody with an IQ below 140, who’s not in politics knows that.  What most of those people don’t understand is how much this little magic show costs.  This next chart shows the monthly cost of the changes in the National Debt, per person.  In other words, this is what it would cost just to stop adding to the National Debt.

charts: elmo explains the national debt

This is the real cost of the so-called “recovery.”  Is there a family of four on this side of the rainbow willing to cough up 2 grand a month to keep it going?




Check out Mark's blog:

  • and



Must reads from Mark McHugh:







Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner




PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (15)

Nice work Mark...both on the graphics and the story...
Oct 1, 2010 at 2:23 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Putting himself firmly in the camp pushing for further Federal Reserve bond purchases, the influential president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Friday that “action is likely to be warranted” and that a formal inflation target might be worth adopting.

Oct 1, 2010 at 2:24 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
TARP due to end, but its funds to live on

Roughly $255 billion is still committed to related spending programs

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The wildly unpopular $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program is set to expire on Sunday, two years to the day it became law, as debate continues to rage over its performance and its final cost to taxpayers.

Oct 1, 2010 at 2:25 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Scientists: 40 Times More Cancer-Causing Toxics in Gulf than Before Spill ... Dispersants to Blame


Read this...
Oct 1, 2010 at 2:26 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — American International Group Inc. Chief Executive Robert Benmosche said Thursday that the U.S. government could make a profit from its bailout of the insurance giant.

“My personal view is that there’s no chance of a loss,” Benmosche said in an interview with MarketWatch.

Oct 1, 2010 at 2:28 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
That's not what the Basket Bunch says...

Oct 1, 2010 at 2:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterZ
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — While discord at the Federal Reserve is on full display, Ben Bernanke has the votes he needs to buy government bonds if the Fed chairman decides that more asset purchases would help the economy avoid deflation and another recession, analysts say.

In a series of speeches over the past two days, Fed officials made clear that they disagree about whether to embark on a second round of quantitative easing.

“Will it work and how much would be needed to make a difference? In my view a consensus on these pivotal questions remains to come together,” said Dennis Lockhart, the president of the Atlanta Fed, in a speech delivered Tuesday.

Oct 1, 2010 at 2:31 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Tea and Crackers, How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party Monster

It's taken three trips to Kentucky, but I'm finally getting my Tea Party epiphany exactly where you'd expect: at a Sarah Palin rally. The red-hot mama of American exceptionalism has flown in to speak at something called the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, a gospel-music hoedown in a giant convention center filled with thousands of elderly white Southerners. Palin - who earlier this morning held a closed-door fundraiser for Rand Paul, the Tea Party champion running for the U.S. Senate - is railing against a GOP establishment that has just seen Tea Partiers oust entrenched Republican hacks in Delaware and New York. The dingbat revolution, it seems, is nigh.

"We're shaking up the good ol' boys," Palin chortles, to the best applause her aging crowd can muster. She then issues an oft-repeated warning (her speeches are usually a tired succession of half-coherent one-liners dumped on ravenous audiences like chum to sharks) to Republican insiders who underestimated the power of the Tea Party Death Star. "Buck up," she says, "or stay in the truck."

Stay in what truck? I wonder. What the hell does that even mean?

Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn't a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters.

As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression - "Government's not the solution! Government's the problem!" - the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.

"The scooters are because of Medicare," he whispers helpfully. "They have these commercials down here: 'You won't even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!' Practically everyone in Kentucky has one."

A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.

Early in his campaign, Dr. Paul, the son of the uncompromising libertarian hero Ron Paul, denounced Medicare as "socialized medicine." But this spring, when confronted with the idea of reducing Medicare payments to doctors like himself - half of his patients are on Medicare - he balked. This candidate, a man ostensibly so against government power in all its forms that he wants to gut the Americans With Disabilities Act and abolish the departments of Education and Energy, was unwilling to reduce his own government compensation, for a very logical reason. "Physicians," he said, "should be allowed to make a comfortable living."

Oct 1, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatt Taibbi
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — Underscoring the divisions at the Federal Reserve, three Fed presidents on Wednesday delivered conflicting speeches on the need for further bond purchases, expressing support, ambivalence and hostility to a measure that could be employed to pick up a moribund economy.

Oct 1, 2010 at 2:32 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Hey Matt Taibbi...assuming that is really you posting..you could have just given a link...:)

NOTE: I have now shortened the comment above and added a link to the story...
Oct 1, 2010 at 2:40 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
@ Matt Taibbi (again, if it's really you who posted)...

You won't find much disagreement from me...we can't stand sarah palin around here...and there are idiots in every party including the tea party...my views are pretty simple...

end the illegal wars...destroy the military-industrial complex...

stop the stimulus...(taleb and paul otellini from intel agree)

Oct 1, 2010 at 2:48 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
"There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everybody with an IQ below 140, who’s not in politics knows that."

Actually, the problem is that most persons believe that a free (to them) lunch can and often should exist. It's persons with IQs of 130 or less who hold these beliefs.

Persons with IQs 130 and over know there are no free lunches and who know that political rhetoric can go a long way to getting done what one wants by manipulating those who take the promises of free lunches, gladly.

On an aside, the people behind Elmo and Sesame Street, for decades, have leeched off taxpayers by winning contracts to have their content broadcast by PBS. They get paid by taxpayers to advertise to sell their Sesame Street characters based merchandise -- clothing, dolls, lunch boxes, more.

No authentic American would let their child watch Sesame Street, the content of which exists to indoctrinate one's children into a collectivist, racist order.
Oct 1, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterSmack MacDougal
Kermit = Mao. Bert and Ernie are homosexuals. Oscar the Grouch lives in a can because he defaulted on his McMansion mortgage. Big Bird is on welfare. The Count is an illegal alien.
Oct 1, 2010 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJim Henson
On an aside, the people behind Elmo and Sesame Street, for decades, have leeched off taxpayers by winning contracts to have their content broadcast by PBS. They get paid by taxpayers to advertise to sell their Sesame Street characters based merchandise -- clothing, dolls, lunch boxes, more.


that's very true...
Oct 1, 2010 at 3:36 PM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Endless bailouts, financial fraud and fake debt money, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
They violate the 1st Amendment by fencing-in demonstrators at G-20, banning books like “America Deceived II” and trying to take-over the internet.
They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by wireless wiretapping.
They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars.
Impeach Obama (and sweep out the Congress, except Ron Paul).
[Link of Banned Book]:
Oct 19, 2010 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterGary

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.