Bill Moeller Commentary: Stage Set for Tragic Occurrence on National Debt


As usual the first column of a new year brings up the changes in how much of our nation’s debt you’re responsible for your portion — as well as your family’s — and by how much it’s increased in just one year.  

My figures from 2019 showed that there was an increase of approximately $1.7 trillion in total debt, spread around a decrease in the population of 4 million citizens. Remember, that’s only the amount of the increase, which is nothing compared with what our Republican president and senate managed to spend during 2020!

As of the falling of the ball in Times Square at the beginning of 2021, the population had actually decreased about a million and a half — or around 1 percent — to 330,773,273 while the national debt grew by nearly $3 trillion to $27,555,210,347,448! That means that every man, woman and child in this country is now in a heck of a lot deeper debt than they were at this same time last year!  The stage is set for a tragic occurrence. 

The frightening thing is that not too many people seem to care. 

Either they’ve never lived through a true economic depression or they refuse to believe that it’s a possibility.

I understand that, in a crisis such as we are experiencing now, it is not the economy — or the worker — that has lost jobs. Those jobs would be filled if stores, factories and other businesses could be open as usual. And though our national debt was no longer a problem by the end of Obama’s term, it was greatly increased by tax breaks to the lucky “one percenters” — with no relation to our current crisis.

And this current economic situation is different from the one that started in 1929.  

Then, those who were out of work in that crisis were given an opportunity to earn at least something to hold a family together by signing up for the WPA, the Works Progress Administration.  

True, in most cases the pay was only $60 per month, but — on the other hand — an average monthly rental was only $15 and bread was 5 cents per loaf. 

Today, many can’t remember that there always used to be a “support” for the money that was printed.  

That was why Fort Knox was created, to store gold as a backup to any printed money and to do so in an amount equal to the amount that was printed. That whole concept has been ignored for some time now. And, I guess, the current “cure” is to print the bills to promote the spending to improve and support an economy in crisis? Let’s hope they’re right. 

Now, getting back to actual arithmetic — the increase in the national debt shared by each man, woman and child has increased of course. Just how much it increased and where the figures stand now is beyond the capability of my desktop calculating machine! 

But it’s not difficult if you have one big enough to handle the 14-digit national debt and divide it by the nine figure population as displayed above. If you can do that I’d sure appreciate your sending the answer to me to pass on to the loyal readers of this tirade — and to serve as a base when the whole process is repeated next year!

To end this monologue on a smoother and kinder note, remember that “you know you’re getting older when you have to recite the alphabet to remember someone’s name.” That was submitted to this column by Leola Whisler.


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at