Darren C. sent me this neat website where you can graph the US federal debt going way back to 1791. I was playing with it and came up with (what I think would be) a really cool 3-minute YouTube. But to see my vision, you have to do the following on the site:
* First set the range from 1791 to 1816. You can see how the War of 1812 saw a big runup in the debt.
* Then do 1816 to 1866. You can see how on this scale, the Civil War (or War of Northern Aggression, etc.) blows the previous history out of the water.
* Then do 1866 to 1919. You can see that on this scale, it looks like nothing is happening until BOOM, World War I makes the debt explode.
* Then do 1919 to 1946. Same story: World War II is now the only thing going on.
* Do 1946 to 1980. It’s not as intense, but it looks like going off the gold standard is as significant as a major war in terms of adding to the debt.
* Finally, do 1970 [sic] to the present, to see just how much debt the Reagan, G.W. Bush, and Obama administrations are racking up. They dwarfed what happened in the 1970s.
So my vision is a YouTube that starts following the timeline, while the arrow of the debt moves along. At each major event, the narrator (either spoken or in text) explains what it was. The camera keeps pulling back or something, so that you can see how what was a huge jump in the beginning (from pre-Civil War debt to post-Civil War debt e.g.) is nothing when you go from pre-World War I debt to post-World War I debt etc.
The effect you want to give you the viewer is similar to what happens in those “scale” videos where you zoom out and see how many Earths fit in Jupiter, how many Jupiters fit in the sun, how many suns fit in Betelguese etc.
So if someone wants to make that video–maybe title it “War & Fiat Money–Expensive Disasters” or something–I think it could be really cool.