November 2, 2019

US Debt Surpasses $23 Trillion

The federal government's outstanding public debt has surpassed $23 trillion for the first time in history, according to data from the Treasury Department released on Friday.

Growing budget deficits have increased the nation's debt at a rapid rate since President Trump took office. Debt has increased by about 16 percent since Trump's inauguration when it was $19.9 trillion. It exceeded $22 trillion for the first time only 10 months ago.

Of the $23 trillion, nearly $17 trillion were in the category of debt held by the public, which is a more useful measure of the debt the government has to pay and the number typically used to calculate the nation's debt burden. The other $6 trillion comes from loans within government agencies. Nevertheless, the $23 trillion number marks a milestone.

"Achieving $23 trillion in debt on Halloween is a frightening milestone for our economy and the next generation, but Washington shows no fear," said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the fiscally conservative Peter G. Peterson Foundation. "Such an accumulation of debt is particularly unwise and unnecessary in a strong economy," he added.

High debt levels can drive up credit costs and interest rates, "crowd out" private borrowing and burden households. In fiscal 2019, for example, the government had to spend 376 billion dollars just to pay interest on debt, which is almost half of the defense budget, and more than the amount spent on the combined costs of education, agriculture, transportation and housing.

Latest Articles

Economics of Negative Interest Rates

July 28, 2020

Social Consequences of Negative Interest Rates

June 26, 2020

Is Switzerland following in the footsteps of Japan?

June 18, 2020

Webinar on the Effects of Negative Interest Rate Policies

June 17, 2020

Webinar on the Japanification in Europe

June 9, 2020

Deflation and inflation - all at once

May 15, 2020

Swiss Finance Institute’s Webinar on Negative Interest Rates

May 13, 2020

Ultra-loose Monetary Policy and the Japanization of the World

May 7, 2020

Fed Chairman Powell: "We're going places."

April 30, 2020

COVID-19 and the Systemic Challenges of our Financial Order

March 20, 2020
The latest in financial technology.