WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation that heads off an unprecedented U.S. financial default and begins the process of curbing the country’s spiraling debt. With less than 12 hours to go before the deadline, President Barack Obama promised to sign the measure immediately.
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The U.S. Congress sets a federal budget every year in the trillions of dollars. Few people know how much money that is so we created a breakdown of federal spending in simple terms. Let’s put the 2011 federal budget into perspective:
U.S. income: $2,170,000,000,000
- Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000
- New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
- National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
- Recent budget cut: $ 38,500,000,000 (about 1 percent of the budget)
It helps to think about these numbers in terms that we can relate to. Therefore, let’s remove eight zeros from these numbers and pretend this is the household budget for the fictitious Jones family:
- Total annual income for the Jones family: $21,700
- Amount of money the Jones family spent: $38,200
- Amount of new debt added to the credit card: $16,500
- Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
- Amount cut from the budget: $385
“And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.” Gen. 47: 16