One year of health care spending in the U.S.
OUR DEBT COULD cover the costs of a kidney transplant for 54.4 million people (nearly the populations of California and Florida combined)
Market value of Apple
OUR DEBT COULD buy everyone in the world an Apple Watch, an iPad, an iPhone 6 and a 13-in. MacBook Air
All U.S. consumer debt (autos, credit cards, student loans)
OUR DEBT COULD pay down all U.S. consumer debt, plus all U.S. mortgage debt, and still leave enough to buy every homeless person in the U.S. a $10 million mansion
U.S. national defense budget in 2015
OUR DEBT COULD buy 1,000 nuclear-armed submarines and 3,000 B-2 Spirit bombers
Value of every NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL team
OUR DEBT COULD pay every U.S. teacher $5 million a year–the average salary of an NBA player
Collective cost of the top 200 U.S. weather disasters since 1980
OUR DEBT COULD finance repairs and cleanup for over 100 Hurricane Katrina–level disasters
One year of U.S. summer-vacation spending
OUR DEBT COULD send every American on a Caribbean vacation every year for the next 30 years
One year of the gross domestic product of Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy
OUR DEBT COULD buy over 1 billion tons of Bavarian bratwurst
U.S. war spending since 9/11, including veterans’ medical costs to 2054
OUR DEBT COULD finance eight wars proportionate to the war in Iraq
Four years of public-college tuition, room and board in the U.S.
OUR DEBT COULD cover four years of public college for every American under age 75
One year of fast-food and casual-restaurant spending worldwide
OUR DEBT COULD reimburse every fast-food purchase made in the past 15 years worldwide
NOTE: U.S. DEBT INCLUDES TOTAL PUBLIC DEBT AND INTRAGOVERNMENTAL HOLDINGS. SOURCES: U.S. TREASURY; MILLIMAN NCES; CENSUS; W.R. HAMBRECHT; FORBES; GALLUP; AMERICAN EXPRESS; MULTIVU.COM; DOD; NOAA; EUROMONITOR; CMS; FEDERAL RESERVE; IMF; COSTSOFWAR.ORG
This appears in the July 06, 2015 issue of TIME.