September 16, 2014

Federal Debt Approaches GDP

  • The national debt has grown significantly in recent years due to rising annual deficits. A deficit occurs in any year the government spends more...

Americans face an unpleasant fiscal landmark this election year: Sometime between now and when they vote in November, the national debt will exceed the U.S. economy’s entire annual production.

That hasn’t happened since World War II. Once that conflict was over, however, the debt stabilized and then fell steadily as a percentage of the economy.

“Unfortunately, nothing like that is on the horizon today,” warns Paul Hansen, Rocky Mountain States regional director for The Concord Coalition. “On the contrary, government projections show the federal debt – which recently topped $15.5 trillion -- continuing to increase rapidly in the years ahead as we continue to borrow and as today’s unusually low interest rates eventually rise toward their historic average.”

In a blog post today, Hansen notes that Concord's deficit-reduction exercises and other public engagement efforts across the country show that people of all ages and different ideologies are willing to make difficult budget choices  as long as there is shared sacrifice, with all options on the table.

“Progress on fiscal reform will be difficult in an election year,” he says. “But further delay would be irresponsible and could jeopardize our children’s future.”

Read more with The Current State of the Debt