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The National Debt Clock - Then and Now

Updated on March 21, 2021

This clock located at has lots of interesting little data items that allow us to get a quick understanding of our countries financial situation.

Gliding your mouse over each number are on the web-site will bring up a definition of what each of the numbers means.

The snapshot below is historical, for those who might not have been keeping track of how our national debt changes day-to-day.

JUNE 24, 2010 - $13.11 Trillion

About forty-five percent of our country works, and about one-third of us pay taxes.

About seven percent of us work for a local, state, or federal government.

Roughly fifteen percent of us are retired, and roughly fifteen percent of us get food stamps.

Our income tax is close to half of the total US governments total tax revenue, but our contributions per year are about sixty percent of what the government spends per year.

All in all, the usdebtclock site is a number filled overview that will shed some insight into the current concerns with government spending practices.

As this article shows, screen captures help to provide a historical perspective on the trend of our National Debt.

September 5, 2012 - $15.96 Trillion

Screen Capture as of September 5, 2012. Note the change between June 2010 and September 2012.
Screen Capture as of September 5, 2012. Note the change between June 2010 and September 2012. | Source

Sequester Effects

Shortly after sequestration went into effect, the National Debt Clock web-site began offering its conjecture on the economic impact of sequester. If you actually visit the site and watch the numbers change, you will note that our debt is still growing, rather than being paid down. The debt grows despite the money we are saving because of the sequestration.

It sort of reminds you of those old 20th Century Sidewalk sales that offered to sell you something for less than normal price. You find yourself tempted even though you would normally never think about buying because their is no need. One might offer the opinion that this website offers evidence that the salesman psychology has become institutionalized at the highest levels of our government.

June 16, 2013 with Sequester - $16.87 Trillion

Screen Capture as of June 2013.  Sequester Data hs been added.
Screen Capture as of June 2013. Sequester Data hs been added. | Source

Sequester is Over

Sequester is over. Many people have lost their Health Insurance. Many have signed up for Affordable Health Care. Leading politicians are in denial, and some claim that nobody has been negatively affected by the new law. That’s a politicians way of saying that America is full of nobodies.

In politics, across the aisle consensus has been reached, with all concurring by action that the finger-pointing will continue.

There is speculation that the national debt clock may soon be replaced by a new clock showing the rising costs in Health Care premiums.

A billion dollars is offered for a perfect bracket in the NCAA tournament. For most of us, that is equivalent to correctly calling the flip of a coin 63 times in a row. Odds are 1 in 2^(63), or 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.

Many believe that intelligence is involved, so determining the chances of creating a perfect bracket may be a little bit less than correctly calling the flip of a coin 63 times in a row.

By comparison, the debt clock stands at 17,537,298,232,800. Many believe this situation to be the consequence of a prolonged lack of intelligence, hence the national debt continues to climb.

March 21, 2014 - $17.53 Trillion

Screen Capture as of 21 March 2014.  The effects of sequestration are off the screen.  The numbers continue to grow.
Screen Capture as of 21 March 2014. The effects of sequestration are off the screen. The numbers continue to grow. | Source

July 25, 2015 - $18.32 Trillion

Screen Capture as of 25 July 2015.  Donald Trump is running for President.  The numbers continue to grow.
Screen Capture as of 25 July 2015. Donald Trump is running for President. The numbers continue to grow. | Source

January 2016 - $18.9 Trillion

Screen Capture as of 17 January 2016.  After the State of the Union Address  The numbers continue to grow.
Screen Capture as of 17 January 2016. After the State of the Union Address The numbers continue to grow. | Source

State of the Union - January 2016

President Obama presented his last state of the union address. The United States will bring home captives from overseas, coincidentally at the same time agreements with Iran are being reached regarding their development of nuclear capability. Global warming has unleashed torrents of political discussion while failing to unleash climate disaster.

Pusillanimous puppy dogs continue to piddle puddles when politicians plod by.

Are you one of them?

December 2016 - $19.9 Trillion

December 17, 2016 shortly after Donald Trump becomes President Elect but before he takes office a month later.
December 17, 2016 shortly after Donald Trump becomes President Elect but before he takes office a month later. | Source

December 2016 - Trump Elected

Sequester had no impact other than to serve as a political distraction for a short while.

Affordable Health Care has become an oxymoron.

Climate change is still debated, and is beginning to evidence itself not as global warming, but as seasonally more extreme variations in temperature and weather, as many a good mathematical meteorologist has offered in decades past. Nations not afraid of sea-rise have begun to build and arm islands.

People from multiple nations declare their intent to form the first Space Nation, named Asgardia, and are seeking to apply to the United Nations to be recognized as such.

Advances in technology are resulting in hotly debated evidence supporting theories about nations and peoples of ancient history.

Around the world, many people still worry about where their next meal will come from.

March 26, 2017 - $19.8 Trillion

Screen capture of March 26, 2017.
Screen capture of March 26, 2017.

About two months after Trump is elected, the US debt clock has dropped by a bit less than $90 billion dollars.

After years and years of constantly going up, is something changing?

January 2018 - $20.6 Trillion

January 27, 2018 - $20.6 Trillion
January 27, 2018 - $20.6 Trillion | Source

One year into the Trump presidency, the stock markets have been showing marked gains, new tax laws have gone into effect, the wall has not been built, and the 'America First' slogan seems to have been widely interpreted by many Americans to mean 'Find excuses to hate other Americans first'.

The National Debt has resumed its upward climb.

July 2020 - $26.6 Trillion

July 23, 2020
July 23, 2020 | Source

The combination of a global pandemic originating in China, several years of calls for impeachment, and prolonged civil unrest and criminal activity begin to drive the United States economy into standby mode. This reversed the downward trend in the National Debt.

This may be remembered as the year when freedom was no longer fun and games.

January 2021 $27.7T

January 7, 2021
January 7, 2021 | Source

The Global Pandemic continues. Although multiple companies offer vaccines to protect against the new corona-virus, new variants evolve. Major cities of the World and some countries go into lock-down to prevent the spread of the virus. Death toll for the World is over 1.8 million. Death toll for the United States is over 340,000.

In the United States, a new President is elected. Many people believe the election results are fraudulent. Blood is shed and life taken on the floor of the United States Senate. The sitting President is prevented from communicating using the more popular methods on the Internet.


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    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      6 years ago


      There was a time when congress couldn't balance their check books.

      No one especially the math challenged congress can understand something in the trillions.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      11 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Jim, If they just sat down and cut the pork that is in every single bill that is passed we would be in much better shape. When you look at the money and the useless projects it is so frustrating because there are some worthwhile ones also. Too many congressmen on both sides of the aisle just want to bring money to their state any they can, so they can get re-elected. They do not consider the bigger picture.

      I find it disturbing that the Democrats write new bills and the unions are now exempt from everything. I think the unions are making a great attempt to run this country along with George Soroa.

    • LRCBlogger profile image


      11 years ago

      Eovery, I'm not sure what you are trying to link me to? It is guidelines on the current contribution limits. I guess you are pointing out that we can donate 6 figures to congress. Are you saying 100,000+ is not enough to say someone's decision? What do you think happens when 15 Goldmans sachs execs all contribute the max. Is millions not enough? I guess I have no idea what point you are getting out. My point still stands. There are campaign finance reform laws that would remove the conflict of money and politics. There is almost zero republican support.

      Further, not one single republican voted for the disclose act which allows the american people to see who is behind the political adds that will run in the media. Apparently republicans don't want you to know who is supporting their views. Don't you find that just a little disturbing?

    • FitnezzJim profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Eovery, You're always welcome to share facts and particularly, sources for facts, on any of my Hubs.

      IMO, 'gov' sites are a reliable source of facts regarding US statutes, regulations, processes and/or policy. The facts we expose ourselves to are usually the basis for our opinions. Debates on opinion are usually based on exposure to different 'facts', some of which are no more reliable than rumor or pointless kindegarten-style accusations.

      Thanks, 'gov' is huge, and I did not know about the brochures site.

    • eovery profile image


      11 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa


      You have proved your ignorance.

      Check out

      Jim, sorry, this is my last post. Sorry we hijacked your hub. I will improve my manners.

    • LRCBlogger profile image


      11 years ago

      eovery, again, educate yourself on the bill before speaking about it. I don't say this to be demeaning but your again incorrect in your thinking. Dems typically raise a heck of a lot more money than republicans (already in 2010, Dems have raised 550 Million vs republicans 350 million). The "fair elections now act" would ensure that the candidates receive equal funding so that neither has a financial advantage. more importantly is where the money comes from and the fact that no entity, corporation or person can donate more than $100 dollars keeps our elected offical from owing any one company or interest group. Cmon man, get yourself up to speed. The fact that republicans don't support this is not for the reasons you stated. It is simply that they don't want to change the old way of politics. If you truly learned about this bill, you would be outraged if your congress representatives were not supporting it.

      One last note, I'm annoyed to be called a "liberal." I am a former republican who changed parties to independent and then eventually changed to Democrat to be able to vote in the primaries. I still consider myself independent but have not seen a republican candidate in my district worth voting for.

    • eovery profile image


      11 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      LRC, you can try to spin this anyway you want, but the real deal is that the republicans may get more of the money than the democrats, which helps out the republicans. So the democrats are trying to stop this move. So you guys can spin and spin all you want, but I know how to read between the lines on liberal talk. So spin away, we the people know better. You talk sounds good, but when examined, it is a bunch of BS.

      Jim, sorry about the intrusion on you hub, I will stop this here.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • FitnezzJim profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Eovery and LRCBlogger - I agree that we probably would view politics with a more positive attitude if politics had not become so dependent on money that only professional politicians could be successful. I'd argue though that it's not all the politicians fault. We have helped it become this way by voting far too often for the politician who runs the best ads or who puts on the best show. That's as much our fault as theirs. WE can change, and we don't have to ask them to change. We can choose to vote for the one who we feel will be the best representative, or the one who holds truest to our own expectations for a politician, rather than for the one who does the best ads. WE CAN, in effect, force them to change simply by continuing to vote them out until we have representatives who respond to the people more than they do to the money. We the people need to be the currency that matters to politicians. Right now, too many people feel otherwise.

      Pete, you're right of course, it's never fair to throw out the whole barrel of apples because one or two is bad.

      Thanks to all for the inspiring dialogue.

    • LRCBlogger profile image


      11 years ago


      if you truly believe that corporations should control politics, than you've pretty much decided to trample all over the constitution.

      Also, the "fair elections now act" does not "take money from republicans." It removes conflict of interest by limiting contributions to all politicians and providing public, not private, financing.

      Money is NOT politics. Money has been woven into politics over time, this is certainly not what the people who fought for this country intended.

      Lastly, the supreme court ruling in citzens vs united was despicable. It's a republican run court, of course they are going to rule in favor of big money politics.

    • Pete Maida profile image

      Pete Maida 

      11 years ago

      It is very easy to assume that a portion of the people that need help are scamming the system. The more people can justify cutting help from the needy the better they feel about doing it.

      Yes there are some that are, and they will get all the press, but that vast majority are not. I've been there I've gotten food stamps. I lived in area of factory workers where factories cut jobs the minute production wasn't needed. I always knew someone on food stamps and none of them were gaming the system.

    • eovery profile image


      11 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Fitness Jim, this debt clock scares me to death.

      LRC, have you not figured it out. Money is politic.

      The bill you are talking about takes money from the republican. Why would a smart republican want to support the bill. Daaaahh! The bill does not address any of the many ways unions and other group give money to the democrats. The supreme court ruled -- can't you guys figure out what is constitutional? Corporations have a right to have a say in politics also. Why should corporations need to be discriminated against and have a say in politics, but their counter parts, the unions have free rein. This is what the supreme court basically said, but apparently the democrats do no respect the constitution and bill of rights anymore.

      He, who can raise the most money correlates to who that is most supported and popular with the people. Well supported politicians raise a lot of money, bad ones don't. So as I said, politics is all about the money!

      Except you do have a few great and honest ones, i.e. Mick Romney who will try do if for the right reasons and will spend his own money for the cause and patriotic duty.

      Keep on hubbing!

    • LRCBlogger profile image


      11 years ago

      We need to get money out of politics. If Republicans are serious about reducing debt, we need some of them to act and start supporting campaign finance reform laws (Fair Elections Now Act) is a good one currently in congress. So far, it has 142 Dems co-sponsoring and not surprisingly only 2 Republicans. Until we get money out of politics, congress will reward those who fund their campaigns by passing bloated spending bills. Get money out and there is no more allegiance to owing corporate America paybacks for the campaign funds.

      Thanks for pointing out the debt clock, great info in there.


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