Just read Eric's blog on his debt redu^H^H^H^Helimination (Go Eric and Shana!!!).

To put some perspective on this, let's try to do this for the US national debt: We know the US's debt load is about $8.6e12 (rounding down), and that the US Treasury rate is 4.5% (rounding down). So let's try to pay it off in 36 months, just like Eric did.

Most modern spreadsheets have the ability to calculate fixed payments with a PMT function. Punching in the above numbers yields a monthly payment of 4.8e11, which if we average over the 3e8 people in the US comes to $1600 per month per person in additional taxes to do what Eric and Shana did.

Seems a bit steep, eh? Especially when not every person in the US is a taxpayer. So, adjusting for the 1.4e8 (rounding up from the sum of personal + corporate) taxpayers, we get $3400 per month per taxpaying entity.

Of course, that's not realistic, there's no way all us taxpayers can manage that. So let's aim to pay it off in our lifetimes, say in the next 600 months (50 years, assuming we become budget neutral). We would have to pay $2700 (rounding down) per month per taxpayer.

So that's a great relief. Only $2700 per month per taxpayer over the next 50 years. Oh wait. I can't make that happen on my budget. So let's make the rich pay it off. Hmm. They all just left for Monaco. That's strange. What about increasing immigration? Say our population quadruples in the next 50 year to 1.2e9 people; maintaining the same ratio of taxpayers to people, we would have 5.6e8 taxpayers and our payment would fall to $600 (rounding down) per month per taxpayer by the time we made our last payment.

Interesting post BTW. And I am not an economics person, but looking at my own finances it would appear to me that perhaps spending less on the ongoing budget, and using that surplus on debt is the way to pay off debt. Though I suppose I could increase the number of immigrants living here to increase the amount of income we have to pay my debts is an alternative. - Nathan