Added on 5/16/11
With the debt limit looming, the talk in Washington, D.C. is that if Congress does not want to have to increase the debt limit again before the next presidential election, Congress will have to increase the debt limit by $2 trillion. That number is in line with what I have been expecting to hear (I was expecting at least $2 trillion) - but the number is just plain huge for such a short period of time!
That is an acknowledgment that the national debt is going up very quickly in the meantime - they are saying that they expect it to go up another $2 trillion in the next year and a half when the national debt has already rocketed up $2 trillion in just 13 months. That is clearly the vertical part of an exponential - although for now it is growing at a somewhat slower pace because there is some economic recovery - but even a year and a half is just 5 months longer than 13 months! This is simply not sustainable and is going to bite America sooner rather than later - and that is, in fact, one of the major points of this website.
I suspect that one of the reasons why most Americans don't understand just how serious the situation is is because most of them aren't highly mathematically trained (and therefore don't understand exponentials) - but I am, I have a degree in engineering (electronics engineering, to be specific - and the operation of some electronic components is defined by mathematical equations involving exponentials) and I think another reason why most Americans don't understand just how serious the situation is is that the people simply don't want the situation to impinge on their lifestyle, but that is not going to stop it from doing so.
Because of what is happening in America these days, I decided to watch one of the Sunday morning talk shows - where they talked about the national debt and the debt limit. As part of that, they showed a live shot of the national debt clock on the side of the building in New York City. I had not seen a shot of it for a while - and I was a little surprised that it is now at $14.523 trillion. That is a couple of hundred billion dollars higher than the official Treasury website (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np) at this time - I suspect because the number on the sign in New York is a calculated number (it is going up so quickly anyway in the meantime that probably no data feed could keep up with it), rather than a reported number, which is what the Treasury number is (but that one is not updated continuously), and the calculated number has gotten a little ahead of the official number.
But the difference in the two is really quite insignificant in relation to the total number - and, especially in relation to how quickly the total number is going up. As I note on this website, as far as I can tell, the national debt went past the knee of the exponential sometime between about March and October 2008 (before Obama was even elected). All exponentials have the characteristic that they do not start racing up immediately after the knee has been passed - there is always some time after the knee during which the exponential continues to go up slowly, albeit ever-more-quickly (but still rather slowly) as time goes on. The U.S. debt exponential is so big that that time lasted over a year, from late in 2008 until about Dec. 1, 2009. But then it started racing up - and has been doing so ever since. The national debt went up $2 trillion from about Dec. 1, 2009 to Jan. 1, 2011 - 13 months. And now it is expected to go up another $2 trillion in a year and a half - even by the number crunchers themselves! That means it is past the knee of the exponential to the degree, i.e., to the point, where it is very definitely really going up vertically.
We are now so far along on the vertical part of the exponential that nothing meaningful can be done about the situation anymore, there is virtually no chance that the U.S. is going to get below the knee of the exponential again. Once the national debt goes truly exponential, the world is going to be a very different place.
About the national debt ceiling and the exponential
Added on 5/16/11