Debt, Debt and More Debt for the United States

-- government building - capitol hill - clouding over --When did one trillion dollars become twelve?

When will 12 trillion dollars turn into 20?

As many people are painfully aware, the United States is increasing its total national debt at an alarming rate.

Over the past decade, the total debt load of the United States has nearly doubled, and there is no relief in sight.

As a matter of fact, the Obama Administration and the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) have both recently released reports predicting that the United States will have nearly $20 TRILLION dollars of total debt by 2019.

The United States first pushed past the one trillion dollar national debt mark shortly after the end of the 1981 fiscal year.

So, between late 1981 and 2020 (approximately), the United States will have added 19 trillion dollars to its national debt load.

For those counting at home, this works out to be nearly half a trillion dollars of added debt every year.

The time between 1981 and 2020 also includes the greatest period of prosperity that the United States has ever witnessed, which makes the numbers even more striking.

Now, these numbers aren't adjusted for inflation - however, there is no denying that the United States is adding to its debt load at an astonishing pace.

Let's look at each trillion dollars of US debt and the time that this mark was reached (or will be reached) to illustrate the point:

$1,000,000,000,000 - late 1981
$2,000,000,000,000 - 1986
$3,000,000,000,000 - 1990
$4,000,000,000,000 - 1992
$5,000,000,000,000 - 1996
$6,000,000,000,000 - 2002
$7,000,000,000,000 - 2004
$8,000,000,000,000 - 2006
$9,000,000,000,000 - 2007
$10,000,000,000,000 - 2008
$11,000,000,000,000 - 2009
$12,000,000,000,000 - late 2009
$13,000,000,000,000 - 2010
$14 - $20 trillion - 2010 through 2020

The runaway debt train was slowed in the late 90s / early 00s as the United States benefited from a surge in tax receipts, but now the train is speeding down the tracks again, faster than ever.

For years, the average person in the United States really didn't care at all about the total national debt of their country.

However, this will start to change over the coming decade (in my opinion), as the spiraling national debt load starts to have an even greater impact on the lives of American citizens.

Three questions that many people are starting to ask (and for good reason):

1. Will the US ever actually pay this debt back?

2. What will be the cost of servicing $20 trillion dollars in debt?

3. How will the US continue to borrow this much money?

Source: United States Debt Clock

Photo: Ethan.K

Filed under: The Economic Meltdown

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