US National Debt Tops $22 Trillion for First Time in History, Growing Faster Under Trump

The Treasury Department announced that the national debt has eclipsed $22 trillion for the first time in United States history.

According to the Treasury, the country’s public debt is now at $22.01 trillion. The debt was at $19.95 trillion when President Trump took office in January 2017.

The Washington Post noted that despite President Obama saw the debt increase by $3 trillion in his first two years, though that was in the wake of the Great Recession while Trump took office with the strongest economy in decades.

In the last two years of the Obama presidency, the debt rose by roughly $500 billion, about a quarter of the rate at which the debt has exploded under Trump.

Tax cuts, military spending to blame:

The Congressional Budget Office projects that annual deficits will continue to increase, racking up the national debt despite the second-longest economic expansion since World War II, NPR reported.

The deficits over the next decade are projected to average $1.2 trillion per year, about 4.4 percent of the US GDP. The average deficit over the last 50 years has been around 2.9 percent GDP.

"Other than the period immediately after World War II, the only other time the average deficit has been so large over so many years was after the 2007–2009 recession," the CBO said last month.

"By 2029, debt is estimated to reach $28.7 trillion," the CBO said in January.

That number does not include the money that the government owes itself after it borrowed from future program funds. That’s another $5.5 trillion.

Deficits projected to grow as growth slows:

The deficits are being driven by the $1.5 trillion tax cut that Trump signed in 2017, which has left the government bringing in much less cash than it spends.

Republicans argued that the reduced tax rates, particularly on corporations who saw a tax rate slash from 35 percent to 21 percent, would be offset by economic growth. That has not happened.

"GDP growth is forecast to slow down after 2020, in part because all of this economic stimulus is likely to drive up interest rates,” NPR reported.

"The deficit typically grows during recessions — when tax receipts shrink and demand for food stamps and other government assistance rises — then falls during good times,” said NPR’s Scott Horsley. “The current spike in the deficit at a time of strong economic growth and low unemployment represents a break with that historical pattern."


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