The National Debt Clock, a marquee-sized digital counter near Times Square in New York City, has officially run out of room.
Installed in 1989 when the U.S. debt was a mere $3 trillion, the clock was not built to graciously handle our ballooning national IOU.
So when the National Debt eclipsed the $10 trillion mark for the first time on Sept. 30, adding another decimal place, it was more than another milestone of our country's precarious financial situation. It was time to order a new clock.
Douglas Durst, son of the clock's late inventor Seymour Durst, is already on the case. A new version will be hoisted in 2009 at the clock's current home on Sixth Avenue near 44th Street in Manhattan. The replacement clock will add two more decimal places, meaning the U.S. will probably be outright sold before the counter would need replacing again.
In the meantime, to display the $10 trillion (and rising) number, the electronic dollar sign has been removed and replaced with the extra digit of debt that's now needed. Passersby will still know it's money that the clock is talking about, because an old-fashioned paper dollar sign has been tacked on the clock. How fitting.
What's another digit?
photo by Jesper Rautell Balle