What Is the National Debt Clock?


Quick Answer

The National Debt Clock is a billboard-sized digital display mounted on the facade of a building in New York City featuring a continually updated tally of the federal government's gross national debt, states the Durst Organization. Seymour Durst created the National Debt Clock to increase public awareness of an exploding national debt. In addition to the total debt, the clock displays each U.S. citizen's share of the debt.

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Full Answer

The first National Debt Clock was installed on the facade of a Durst Organization-owned building at the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street, in 1989. At the time, the gross national debt was about $3 trillion. In 2000, the clock was switched off because the debt was declining, due in part to the relative prosperity of the 1990s. However, the clock was switched on again in 2002, when the national debt increased over the previous year, reports the Durst Organization. In 2004, a new clock was installed on the facade of a Durst Organization-owned building near West 44th Street and Avenue of the Americas. In 2008, an additional digit was added to the clock when the debt rose above $10 trillion.

As of December 2015, the total debt, as displayed on the clock, stands at approximately $19 trillion. The clock indicates that each U.S. citizen's share of the debt is about $100,000. These amounts do not include unfunded liabilities in excess of $120 trillion, reports Forbes.

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