National Debt Clocks

The first “National Debt Clock” (actually a numerical counter with a running display) was erected in Times Square, New York City in 1989. At the time, the US Debt was $2.7 Trillion. Today it is $20 Trillion.

New York real estate developer, Seymour Durst, who invented and sponsored the clock stated that it represents a nonpartisan effort and explained the motivation behind the project in terms of intergenerational equity. “We are a family business. We think generationally, and we don’t want to see the next generation crippled by this burden. The location of the clock has since been moved to 44th Street just off 6th Avenue, Avenue of the Americas and the amount is $20 Trillion!

Currently, there are approximately 45 Debt Clocks online purporting to show the US National Debt. 30 on Congressional websites and 18 on non-government websites. Most are incorrect – including all of the ones on Congressional websites. There is a $6 Trillion difference between the highest at $22 Trillion and lowest at $16 Trillion.

The official source for reporting US outstanding debt is the US Treasury. Each business day at 3 PM ET UST updates the amount of outstanding debt. Via their website Debt to the Penny website: https://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/current

Following is a list of the displays and the amount each showed:

Source Website Link Amount on March 3, 2016