My grandfather started worrying about the national debt before most people gave any thought to it. To let people know how big a problem it is for our country to carry such a large debt he put up the National Debt Clock in NYC way back when I was in middle school.
The clock has now become the visual for any news story discussing the economy. Unfortunately, the clock needs a little work. The growing national debt has added a digit to the debt. The clock wasn't quite ready for that.
I was having a political discussion/argument last weekend with someone and we were discussing the bailout. My friend said the combo of the bailout and continuing to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq is okay because obviously we have the money. The thing that my grandfather understood and that I think most of the country now realizes is that we don't have the money. It's not sitting somewhere within the government waiting to be used. We're borrowing it....from other countries, from private foreign investors and from the next few generations. Let's hope one day we'll get to see my grandfather's clock start counting backwards again.