For The First Time In U.S. History, National Debt Surpasses $23 Trillion

Darren.Woon

The federal government’s public debt has exceeded $23 trillion for the first time in the U.S.’s history, data released from the Treasury Department shows, according to The Hill

Since President Trump took office, the debt has grown about 16 percent, initially standing at $19.9 trillion. 

Of the $23 trillion total, nearly $17 trillion was debt held by the public while the other $6 trillion originated from loans within government bodies. 

“Reaching $23 trillion in debt on Halloween is a scary milestone for our economy and the next generation, but Washington shows no fear,” said Michael A. Peterson, the CEO of the conservative Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

“Piling on debt like this is especially unwise and unnecessary in a strong economy,” he continued. 

Such high levels of debt has the potential to increase borrowing costs and interest rates, “crowd out” private borrowing, and weigh down budgets. For example, in the 2019 fiscal year, the government devoted $376 billion to pay the interest on the debt, equivalent to nearly half of the defense budget, and more than the amount spent on the combined costs of education, agriculture, transportation, and housing. 

The 2017 Republican tax law was estimated to cost $1.9 trillion over a decade. Additionally, the deficit for 2019 came in at $984 billion, expected to grow in coming years. 

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