Federal Debt Soars Past $20T

Fiscal conservatives are appalled
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2017 12:59 AM CDT
Federal Debt Soars Past $20 Trillion
A "clock" of increasing federal debt is projected behind Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as she testifies Wednesday, July 12, 2017 before the House Financial Services Committee.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In a very unwelcome milestone for fiscal conservatives, the federal debt soared past $20 trillion for the first time last week, according to the latest Treasury figures. An increase after President Trump's deal with Democrats to lift the debt ceiling by $318 billion leaves America $20.16 trillion in the red, up from around $19.84 trillion, CBS News reports. For comparison, Zillow estimates that the combined value of every house in the US is close to $30 trillion. Some $5.5 trillion of the debt is "intragovernmental debt" owed by one part of the government to another, with the rest held by the public.

Michael A. Peterson, chief of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which calls for fiscally conservative policies, says passing the $20 trillion mark "is the latest indicator of our nation's dire fiscal condition," the Hill reports. In a statement, Peterson warned that the growing debt will damage the economy and cost the government more than $6 trillion in interest over the next decade. "That's more than we will invest in our kids. So, in effect, we have decided to spend more on our past than on our future," he said. (The debt is already bigger than the entire US economy.)

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