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National Debt


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Typically, when you spend more than you make, you go into debt. When Congress spends more tax money than it has, it adds to the national debt, which now stands somewhere north of $31 trillion. One debt-conscious member of Congress has invented a constant reminder while making a fashion statement. It’s a pin that shows the debt growing in real time. Here’s Republican Tom Massie.

Rep. Thomas Massie: We had a week off, and I spent three days making this. It logs on to U.S. Treasury's website once a day because they publish the debt once a day. And then it tries to guess what the debt is from one day to the next. And it's meant to instill anxiety among my colleagues.

Sharyl: Okay.

Massie: That's why I'm wearing it, and it's working out great. Like, they look at it out of curiosity, and then they have horror, and then they realize they're the ones who are doing this. And then when they get over that, they're very jealous and they want one of these.

Sharyl: Are you going to make one for other members?

Massie: I think I'm going to have to make some. Because it's been pretty popular. You just charge it fully with a regular iPhone charger.

Sharyl: How did you make it? In simple terms.

Massie: Well, the case is roof flashing that I found in my basement from when I built my roof. And then, it's just a small microprocessor and a lithium battery and a screen. This screen could actually show TV commercials. But I wanted to make it look like something from the '80s, so I came up with this font that looks like LEDs, so that it looks like this thing has been running for 30 or 40 years.

Sharyl: You are an MIT guy.

Massie: This is what I used to do for a living.

Sharyl (on-camera): Spending during the Covid pandemic helped send the national debt soaring ever higher. Experts say the debt has ballooned by 430% over the last twenty years.

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