Is America’s $30 Trillion Credit Card Maxed Out?
Americans understand personal debt all too well. There are whole industries to help people get out of debt, one even suggests freezing credit cards in ice to delay overspending.
The federal government and D.C. politicians talk about debt. But the last three presidents combined, along with the current president and a lot of help from Congress, have created record-breaking levels of national debt. Yet they are not cutting up their credit cards and they keep voting themselves higher spending limits.
The “national debt” is how much Uncle Sam has borrowed and is supposed to pay back to its creditors, be they private citizens, institutions, foreign governments (publicly held debt), or even itself (intergovernmental debt). National debt is often framed as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).
The Congressional Budget Office reported in February that the federal government’s debt is expected to exceed the size of the American economy this year, even before counting the $1.9 trillion COVID-relief package recently signed by President Joe Biden. In fiscal year 2018, debt was 78% of all GDP, and, with all laws extended, it was projected to be 96% of GDP in FY2028. COVID spending moved up our insolvency.
Thanks to the COVID-relief package, President Biden will have added trillions to the national debt in just the first two months of his presidency. The United States has only been debt-free twice, in 1834 and 1835. But our country currently is on an unsustainable spending spree and someone needs to freeze (or cut up) Washington, D.C.’s credit cards, which are more than maxed out.
National debt, according to figures from the Department of Treasury
In eight years, President George W. Bush added $6.1 trillion to the national debt:
- $5.81 trillion debt on September 28, 2001: President George W. Bush’s inherited debt level at the start of his first budgetary year.
- $11.91 trillion debt on September 30, 2009: The end of President Bush’s budgets.
In eight years, President Barack Obama added $8.334 trillion to the national debt:
- $11.91 trillion debt on September 30, 2009: President Obama’s inherited debt level at the start of his first budgetary year.
- $20.244 trillion debt on September 29, 2017: The end of President Obama’s budgets.
Through his four years, up until Inauguration Day, President Donald Trump added $7.51 trillion to the national debt:
- $20.244 trillion debt on September 29, 2017: President Trump’s inherited debt level at the start of his first budgetary year.
- $27.75 trillion debt (of which $21.6 billion was held by the public) on January 20,2021.
Including his last-signed spending bills through September of this year, some estimate Trump will have raised the national debt $7.8 trillion during his term.
The #WasteOfTheDay is presented by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.