#180: The National Debt Clock

The National Debt Clock in Midtown may or may not be a tourist attraction depending on whether you find it really interesting or really depressing. Installed in 1989 by a New […]


The National Debt Clock in Midtown may or may not be a tourist attraction depending on whether you find it really interesting or really depressing.

Installed in 1989 by a New York real estate developer who wanted to highlight the rising national debt, the clock was built to constantly update to show the current United States gross national debt and each American family’s share of the debt. But with the original purpose of the clock being to highlight the rising debt, in 2000 with an improving economic situation, the clock started to run backwards. This created a problem as the display had not been designed to run backwards. So the clock was unplugged and covered with a red, white and blue curtain. Unfortunately, in July 2002 with a rising debt at $6.1 trillion, the curtain was raised and the clock once again picked up tracking.

In 2008, the U.S. national debt exceeded $10 trillion for the first time, leading to reports that the clock had run out of digits. But being untrue, you can still see the National Debt Clock in all of its glory flashing its $17 trillion and counting debt message and reminding us that our own household share is a mere $152,000 (at the time of the photo!)

National Debt Clock 110 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036

National Debt Clock NYC

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