U.S. Economy

America’s Record Public Debt is About to Hit Recently Upshifted Ceiling

At $31.1 trillion, outstanding public debt is getting closer to the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling Congress imposed until early 2023.

But America’s debt problem has reached a critical point.

Public debt outstanding in the US has surpassed $31 trillion for the first time ever, Treasury department data published Tuesday (Oct. 4) show. A trillion dollars of debt was added just in the last eight months, and it’s close to reaching the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling Congress imposed on borrowing until early 2023.

Much of the extreme borrowing began when the country was in the grips of the covid-19 pandemic, and close-to-zero interest rates made taking on debt seem cheap. But even as president Joe Biden declared the pandemic “over,” the borrowing hasn’t ended, and it’s only becoming more expensive as interest rates rise.

“Excessive borrowing will lead to continued inflationary pressures, drive the national debt to a new record as soon as 2030, and triple federal interest payments over the next decade–or even sooner if interest rates go up faster or by more than expected,” warns the Committee for a Responsible Fiscal Budget (CRFB), a non-partisan non-profit organization devoted to educating policymakers and citizens about the country’s fiscal challenges.

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