The U.S. Debt

The U.S. national debt is at post-war record highs, both in dollars and as a share of the economy. And not only has it grown from 35 percent of GDP in 2007 to 74 percent today, it is projected to exceed the entire economy sometime in the 2030s.

Ever-growing levels of debt threaten citizens’ and families’ economic well-being in a number of ways. A large debt:

  • Hurts wages and jobs
  • Prevents us from growing the economy
  • Makes borrowing more expensive for important investments
  • Threatens the safety net
  • Risks a real crisis

Drivers of the Debt:

  • An aging population, rising health care costs, growing interest payments on the debt and insufficient revenue are the primary drivers of the long-term debt.
  • Little has been done to address the long-term drivers of the debt through fundamental tax and entitlement reform.
  • Ten years from now, three-fourths of all federal spending will go to mandatory items (mostly health care programs and Social Security) and interest on the debt.
  • Interest payments on the debt represent the fastest growing part of the federal budget and will reach 15% of the budget by 2025 and will continue rising, crowding out critical investments.
  • Our tax code’s wide array of deductions, exemptions, and loopholes – known as tax expenditures, or spending through the tax code – represent $1.2 trillion in lost revenue for the Treasury this year alone.

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