The U.S. public debt has reached a record high of more than 22 trillion U.S. dollars, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury Department.
Total outstanding public debt stands at 22.01 trillion dollars as of Feb. 11, the Treasury Department’s daily statement showed Tuesday. “The national debt has now eclipsed 22 trillion dollars, as we added 1 trillion dollars in debt over just the last 11 months,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a non-partisan organization dedicated to addressing America’s long-term fiscal challenges. “Reaching this unfortunate milestone so rapidly is the latest sign that our fiscal situation is not only unsustainable, but accelerating,” Peterson said in a statement. Analysts said the Trump administration’s 1.5-trillion-dollar tax cut and increased government spending have fueled the rapid increase in budget deficits and public debt.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) last month estimated that federal budget deficit is about 900 billion dollars in 2019 and exceeds 1 trillion dollars each year beginning in 2022. Because of persistently large deficits, the public debt is projected to grow steadily, reaching 93 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2029 and about 150 percent of U.S. GDP in 2049, according to the CBO. “As we borrow trillion after trillion, interest costs will weigh on our economy and make it harder to fund important investments for our future,” Peterson said. “We already pay an average of 1 billion dollars every day in interest on the debt, and will spend a staggering 7 trillion dollars in interest costs over the next decade,” he said, adding “we must put our fiscal house in order and begin to manage our national debt.”
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has warned that the rising public debt in the United States could lead to the next economic recession. During an interview with Bloomberg Television in November 2018, Greenspan said he saw “a lot of talk but no realistic movement” to address the problems of rising deficits and debt, which could drag the U.S. economy into a period of stagflation with rising inflation and high unemployment. Greenspan believed that the next U.S. economic recession is going to come “sometime” and it’s going to be driven by “dramatically” rising debt.