Crude oil prices hit an all-time high this week, closing above $98 a barrel for the first time in history.
According to the AAA, many drivers in my home state of California are already paying more than $4 a gallon for regular unleaded gas. And in one town south of Big Sur, unleaded gas topped $5 a gallon.
The U.S. dollar is at an all-time low, even when compared against the hapless Canadian loonie. Five years ago, a loonie was worth 60 cents. Today, it’s worth $1.12 and climbing.
Yesterday, WorldNetDaily reported that the Chinese are considering abandoning the U.S. dollar as their national reserve currency. WND quoted Craig Smith’s assessment of the consequences of such a move by Beijing on our economy: “If that were to happen, all bets are off, and we will be in a depression that makes 1929 look like child’s play, or we will experience Weimar Republic inflation as the dollar makes extreme moves toward devaluations.”
On Tuesday, the U.S. national debt topped $9 trillion for the first time in history, according to the U.S. Treasury Department’s daily accounting of the national debt. Nine trillion dollars! The number is so staggeringly high that it exceeds our ability to comprehend it in monetary units.
Million, billion, trillion – in financial terms, for most of us, it means a lot of money, really a lot of money, but that is about as specific a picture as most ordinary people can grasp.
Let’s put all these “illions” into perspective. A million seconds is roughly 12 days, whereas a billion seconds is approximately 32 years.