“America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.” – Senator Barack Obama, 2006
“Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.” – Senator Barack Obama, 2006
On the day Obama gave that speech, the national debt was $8.3 trillion or 61% of the nation’s economy. The national debt now stands at $16.9 trillion or 102% of GDP. After adjusting for economic, the current debt is 66% larger than the debt Obama condemned in 2006.
“”If the amount of debt held by the public remains so large, federal spending on interest payments will increase substantially when interest rates rise to more normal levels. Because federal borrowing generally reduces national saving, the stock of capital assets, such as equipment and structures, will be smaller and aggregate wages will be less than if the debt were lower. In addition, lawmakers will have less flexibility than they ordinarily might to use tax and spending policies to respond to unanticipated challenges. Moreover, such a large debt poses an increased risk of precipitating a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates.”” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), March 2013
The CBO cautioned that the national debt—if left unaddressed—is going to suppress workers’ wages, degrade the government’s capacity to weather challenges, and may trigger a financial crisis. Furthermore, the same report projected that under current polices, publicly-held federal debt is going to rise by 20% of GDP over the next 10 years.
“We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.” –President Barack Obama, August 2013
As of August 1, 2013, the official debt of the United States government is $16.7 trillion ($16,738,600,261,139), this amounts to:
• $52,943 for every person living in the U.S.
• $138,240 for every household in the U.S.
• 101% of the U.S. gross domestic product.
• 574% of annual federal revenues.
At the close of the federal government’s 2012 fiscal year (September 30, 2012), the federal government had roughly:
• $7.5 trillion ($7,517,000,000,000) in liabilities that are not accounted for in the national debt, such as federal employee retirement benefits, accounts payable, and environmental/disposal liabilities.
• $21.6 trillion ($21,622,000,000,000) in obligations for current Social Security participants above and beyond projected revenues from their payroll and benefit taxes, certain transfers from the general fund of the U.S. Treasury, and assets of the Social Security trust fund.
• $27.0 trillion ($27,000,000,000,000) in obligations for current Medicare participants above and beyond projected revenues from their payroll taxes, benefit taxes, premium payments, and assets of the Medicare trust fund.
* Combining the figures above with the national debt and subtracting the value of federal assets, the federal government had about $67.7 trillion ($67,726,000,000,000) in debts, liabilities, and unfinanced obligations for current Social Security and Medicare participants at the close of its 2012 fiscal year.
* This $67.7 trillion shortfall is 105% of the combined net worth of all U.S. households and nonprofit organizations, including all assets in savings, real estate, corporate stocks, private businesses, and consumer durable goods such as automobiles, and equates to:
• $215,311 for every person living in the U.S.
• $559,331 for every household in the U.S.
• 428% of the U.S. gross domestic product.
• 2,513% of annual federal revenues.
“We have met the enemy and he is us.” –Pogo, 1971
For a ‘nuther level of heartburn see: