National Debt Grows By $1.4 Billion a Day

December 10, 2007 | From

The national debt is expanding at $1.4 billion dollars per day—that’s right—billion! At that rate the national debt grows by about $1 million dollars per minute. All told, the national debt is an incomprehensible $9.13 trillion.

“What’s that mean to you?” asks msnbc. It means:

Even if you’ve escaped the recent housing and credit crunches and are coping with rising fuel prices, you may still be headed for economic misery, along with the rest of the country. That’s because the government is fast straining resources needed to meet interest payments on the national debt ….

And, msnbc says, “It means almost $30,000 in debt for each man, woman, child and infant in the United States.”

Since much government debt is short-term, it also means that the government, like adjustable-rate mortgage holders, could quickly see interest costs balloon as the debt comes due and is rolled over.

Under that scenario, interest on the debt would really start “compounding, and could in time squeeze out most other government spending—leading to sharply higher taxes or a cut in basic services like Social Security and other government benefit programs. Or all of the above,” notes msnbc.

But the national debt is really only a small portion of what is owed by the government.

If future promises such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are included, national liabilities leap to around $50 trillion. That’s more than $166,000 per man, woman and child.

“The basic facts are a matter of arithmetic, not ideology,” said Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a bipartisan group that advocates eliminating federal deficits.

There’s little dispute that current fiscal policies are unsustainable, he said. “Yet too few of our elected leaders in Washington are willing to acknowledge the seriousness of the long-term fiscal problem and even fewer are willing to put it on the political agenda.”

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