Ominous Milestone: $15.3 Trillion U.S. Debt Now As Large As ENTIRE National Economy
The United States has reached an ominous milestone. For the first time since the immediate post-World War II period, the national debt is as big as the entire economy.
USA Today reports that the amount owed to creditors, combined with IOUs to be paid to government retirement and other programs, is more than $15,230,000,000,000, a little more than the U.S. gross domestic product– the total value of all goods and services produced in a year– of $15.17 trillion.
“The 100% mark means that your entire debt is as big as everything you’re producing in your country,” Steve Bell of the Bipartisan Policy Center, which advocates cutting $6 trillion from the debt over the next decade, told USA Today. “Clearly, that can’t continue.”
According to long-term projections, debt growth will continue to outpace economic growth, which would have to amount to 6% annually in order to keep pace. Shockingly, President Obama’s 2012 budget projects a debt of more than $26 billion 10 years from now. The highly-touted deficit reduction plan hashed out by the Obama administration and Congress last summer would only reduce that figure to $24 trillion.
The national debt has been as large or larger than the nation’s GDP before, for three years during and after World War II. By the end of the Carter administration it fell to 32.5% of GDP, but under Ronald Reagan it began climbing again, doubling by the early 1990s. President Clinton balanced the budget by the time he left office only to see the debt balloon during George W. Bush two terms. It hasn’t stopped growing since.
According to USA Today, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan and Portugal all have debts larger than their economies.
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