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Debt Clock Out of Numbers

The national debt clock, which hangs on a wall in Times Square (right next to an IRS office, by the way), has been recording the national debt since 1989 and was the brainchild of late, puckish Manhattan developer Seymour Durst.

Now, the debt is so high, the clock has run out of numbers.

The clock has room for 13 digits, to record a national debt of up to $9,999,999,999,999.

The National Debt Clock on Oct. 8, 2008. Kathy Willens--AP)

But when President Bush signed the $700 billion Wall Street rescue/bailout plan, it upped the national debt to more than $10 trillion, meaning a 14th digit was required on the clock. (Which, technically speaking, is more a counter than a clock. But what else are you going to call it? The Terror Ticker?)

Temporary solution: Durst's son, Douglas, who now runs the clock, has dropped the dollar sign ($) to track the swelling national debt, which now stands at $10.2 trillion.

The Associated Press reports that Durst will update the clock by next year to accommodate a quadrillion-dollar national debt. The debt clock was turned off from 2000 to 2002 when it looked like the debt was under control.

To learn more about the national debt, go to I.O.U.S.A. On this site, you'll learn about a recently released documentary of the same name starring David Walker, former U.S. comptroller, who has been traveling the country on his "fiscal wake-up tour" to educate taxpayers about the dangers of the rising national debt.

-- Frank Ahrens

By Frank Ahrens  |  October 9, 2008; 12:23 PM ET
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I want to thank Americans for voting in Mr. George Bushes for Presidency!! He has done more to you country than I could have ever dreamed!!

Yes, Americans. Even if my religion, Praise be to Allah, allowed me to smoke marijuana or consume liqours, could I have dreamed up the ways he destroys your country.

May the peace of Allah and his Prophet Mohammed, be upon Mr. George Bushes!!

Posted by: Osama Bin Laden | October 9, 1908 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, yes, THANK YOU, President Bush--and wannabe president McCain! With either of you at the helm, the ship of state is rushing us ALL to Judgement Day and to our HEAVENLY reward!!! Why bother anymore investing to relieve human misery or to avert environmental disaster, when we get it all over so quickly, becoming a weak and vulnerable target for ALL of the EVIL empires out there (there are SO MANY of them now)! Who said you need a strong economy to be "secure." How foolish! Now empty the treasury into Wall Street's pockets and get that nuclear RAPTURE on! WAVE that FLAG, guys!

Posted by: Apocalypta | October 9, 1908 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Your Post numbers looked pretty bad today. It looks like a downward spiral. You had it going up in August and then the chart went to hell. Things can always improve. There's no lack of news that needs covered. I don't know how you even keep up with it all. You were just expanding, so I guess you keep expanding. Quality pays for itself, so it has to get better. It never ends.


Posted by: A-G | October 9, 1908 6:53 PM | Report abuse

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