US national debt surpasses $31 trillion for first time

US Materials 5 October 2022 02:39 (UTC +04:00)
US national debt surpasses $31 trillion for first time

The national debt of the United States blew past $31 trillion for the first time ever Tuesday, a grim milestone that comes amid soaring interest rates that threaten to strain the government's finances, Trend reports citing Washington Examiner.

It comes just nine months after the last milestone of $30 trillion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, and only five years after reaching $20 trillion. The unprecedented spree of government borrowing brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic, and further borrowing to stimulate the economy, has helped to contribute to the majority of this figure.

"This is a new record no one should be proud of," Maya MacGuineas, president of the CRFB, said in a statement. "In the past 18 months, we’ve witnessed inflation rise to a 40-year high, interest rates climbing in part to combat this inflation, and several budget-busting pieces of legislation and executive actions. Just in 2022, Congress and the President have approved a combined $1.9 trillion in new borrowing, and President Biden has approved $4.9 trillion in new deficits since taking office. We are addicted to debt."

The U.S. debt reached new heights due to increased spending during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan following 9/11 and has been on an upward trajectory ever since.

"Even more troubling than where the debt stands now is where it’s going. Our nation faces significant fiscal challenges in the near term. Medicare is only six years from insolvency, and Social Security insolvency is only 12 years away. Yet policymakers have put forth no plan to put either program on strong fiscal footing," MacGuineas said.

A growing national debt can place strains on the government.

Rising federal debt means greater interest costs for the government, making it harder to spend on other needs, such as the social safety net and the military. Greater spending on interest payments, in turn, raises the debt and borrowing costs, raising the threat of a debt spiral.