The Budget Explained in Simple English

The U.S. federal debt is fast approaching $20 trillion. Is that worrying? Hard to tell – that figure is too big to contemplate. That is why we have scaled it and a few other debt-related figures down to human proportions, at the level of a household budget. This instructional video will – quite literally – bring the debt problem home to you:

Translating the amount of tax revenue and government outlays to the ins and outs of your family budget, our video gives you an idea of the size of the issue by presenting the debt amounts as graspable figures. Those figures might not be as astronomical as the real amounts, but they are better at conveying the core of the problem.

  • The annual U.S. Tax Revenue amounts to more than three trillion dollars. That’s $3,267 billion, to be exact. Both figures dazzle the mind, but if we lop off eight zeroes, we have an amount that could well be your household’s annual income: $32,670.
  • The U.S. Federal Government plans to spend close to four trillion dollars. Total outlays are close to of $3,854 billion. Again, translated to a normal-sized family budget, that amounts to an annual spend of $38,540. 
  • There is an obvious hole in the budget here, and on federal level, it corresponds to $587 billion. Scaled down to family size, that becomes new credit card debt of $5,870.
  • Unfortunately, it’s not the first year the U.S. Federal Government is running a deficit. This year’s debt is added to the outstanding debt, which now totals over $19 trillion, or $19,333 billion. Eliminate the right amount of zeroes, and your household owes a total of $193,338.
  • That’s enough to knock the stuffing out of any budget planner. There is a silver lining: budget cuts of $24 billion. Sounds like a lot, but to put that in perspective: it’s as if you managed to cut your annual household spend by no more than $243.

The actual amount of U.S. federal debt is world-record-breaking, and almost beyond comprehension. But that doesn’t mean the problem isn’t real, or indeed very serious. As indicated by a previous article on our website, the U.S. has one of the world’s highest per-capita public debt rates in the world. Scaling down the problem to a level everyone can understand – we all have household budgets – serves as a much-needed wake-up call.

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