In the time it takes you to read this story, the U.S. debt will have grown by about $4.4. million.

The debt is now lurking just under the $16 trillion mark — a number huge enough to be almost incomprehensible to the layperson. One way to visualize its magnitude: If you were to spend a dollar every second, it would take you 32,000 years to spend $1 trillion, or a mere one-16th of the debt.

“The national debt is certainly a ticking time bomb. There’s no question that if we don’t do something about it, it’s going to go off,” says Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition.

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