29 August 2009

Cartoon : Swimming in Red Ink

In this political cartoon by Daryl Cagle published on 22 August, we see a caricature of President Obama swimming in red ink. This cartoon was probably published due to the news released this week that $2 trillion* has been added to the US national debt. According to www.federalbudget.com the US national debt now stands at $11.7 trillion ($11,700,000,000,000)!!

Idiomatically red ink refers to the condition of a fiscal deficit in any business. There are two expressions that can be used to describe a the fact of having a huge deficit. The first, as seen in the cartoon, is to swim in red ink.

The second, stronger expression to describe an overwhelming debt is to drown in red ink.

To describe a budget where there will be losses or debt, you would say that the budget is in the red. To describe the opposite situation which everyone hopes for where there is a profit, you would say that the budget is in the black.

*a trillion - the number equal to 1012, written as 1 followed by 12 zeros.

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