Image: US Debt Clock
The stupendously large US national debt (currently at nearly $12.1 trillion and growing) is a depressing thing for most of us, but not to the number nerds at the Bureau of Public Debt! They LOVE to calculate how much the American government owes.
Lisa Desjardins of CNN Radio has the story:
At a large desk in Parkersburg, Jaime Saling watches over roughly 6,500 pieces of data and trillions of dollars each day. Her title takes up a few characters itself: Saling is the debt accounting branch manager for the Bureau of Public Debt.
She and a division of just 15 people quietly and relentlessly work to account for every penny of the national debt. It is tedious and potentially overwhelming work, but Saling acts as if she flies jet fighters. [...]
The public debt building has become a number nerds' paradise. Employees say they balance their checkbooks at least weekly, some daily. A big happy-face sign marks progress on a recent audit. A written goal is taped to a Nerf-sized football. And the security guards brag that someone brings in a cake about every other day.