US National Debt Tops $31 Trillion

The United States national debt has topped $31 trillion, data from the Treasury Department revealed Tuesday.

The glum news came a mere eight months after the national debt reached a record $30 trillion in February, boosted by $7 trillion in stimulus spending during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the economy afloat.

Economists fear the national debt will compound at an increasingly faster rate, now that the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to put the brakes on the economy and inflation. At higher interest rates, economists no longer view the massive U.S. national debt as manageable.

“So many of the concerns we’ve had about our growing debt path are starting to show themselves as we both grow our debt and grow our rates of interest,” Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which promotes deficit reduction, told the New York Times. “Too many people were complacent about our debt path in part because rates were so slow.”

By some economists’ estimates, the Fed funds rate target of 4.5% by year-end could add an additional $1 trillion to the interest rates that the government will spend over the next decade to service the debt.

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