US National Debt Skyrockets to $31.5 Trillion: A Closer Look at the Causes and Consequences

Maria Irene

The United States has recently witnessed a staggering increase in its national debt, which has now reached a record $31.5 trillion, up more than $8 trillion since 2020. This astronomical figure has led to a higher Debt/GDP ratio of 120%—a number that even surpasses the post-World War 2 ratio. As a result, experts are concerned about the sustainability of current fiscal policies and the long-term implications of such a substantial debt burden.

The US national debt comprises several components, with the Federal Reserve System emerging as the largest holder of US debt at 20%. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fed expanded its balance sheet and held more than $6.25 trillion in US debt as of April 2022. Moreover, 21.8% of the public debt, amounting to $6.9 trillion, is owned by the federal government itself, including funds dedicated to Medicare, specialized programs, and retirement initiatives. The Social Security program, which is on the brink of running out of money, holds approximately 10% of US debt.

The government’s significant expenses include servicing the national debt, with net interest payments projected to reach $396 billion this fiscal year, or 6.8% of all federal outlays. Since 2010, interest expenses have amounted to over $3 trillion. While interest rates on US debt remain at historic lows, they have begun to rise as the Fed tries to curb inflation. Presently, interest rates stand at around 2%, a far cry from the 9% observed in the 1990s. Nevertheless, interest expenses are escalating rapidly.

According to the US Treasury, current fiscal policies are unsustainable, with the debt crisis already at our doorstep. By 2033, the US deficit is predicted to reach $3 trillion, and the Debt/GDP ratio is expected to soar to 200% by 2046. The persistent accumulation of national debt has raised concerns about the government’s ability to manage its financial obligations and the long-term effects on the country’s economic stability.

To alleviate the debt burden, nations often resort to printing more money, a strategy that tends to exacerbate inflation. As more money enters circulation, the value of existing currency decreases, leading to higher prices for goods and services. This inflationary pressure not only affects the cost of living for citizens but also undermines the nation’s overall economic health.

However, there are alternative approaches to reducing national debt. Some experts advocate for fiscal responsibility through reduced government spending and a focus on balancing the budget. Others emphasize the need for comprehensive tax reform to increase revenue without overburdening citizens. Additionally, investing in economic growth and job creation can lead to a larger tax base, which would provide the government with more resources to address its debt obligations.

In the case of the United States, a combination of these strategies may be necessary to tackle the current debt crisis. As the Debt/GDP ratio continues to rise, it is crucial for the government to reassess its fiscal policies and consider implementing measures that promote long-term economic stability. Failure to address the mounting national debt may result in severe consequences for future generations, potentially compromising the nation’s economic well-being and global standing.

In conclusion, the United States faces an unprecedented debt crisis, with the national debt reaching a staggering $31.5 trillion and the Debt/GDP ratio surpassing even post-World War 2 levels. The government’s fiscal policies have proven unsustainable, prompting concerns about the long-term consequences of such a significant debt burden. To mitigate the crisis, a multifaceted approach involving fiscal responsibility, tax reform, and investments in economic growth may be necessary to ensure the nation’s financial stability and avert a more severe economic downturn.

As the government grapples with the immense challenge of addressing its soaring national debt, it is imperative for policymakers to engage in open, informed discussions about the most effective strategies for reducing the debt burden. A bipartisan effort to analyze the country’s fiscal policies, expenditures, and revenue sources is crucial in developing a balanced and sustainable approach to managing the national debt.

Furthermore, it is essential for the government to prioritize investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development. By focusing on these areas, the United States can foster a more robust and competitive economy that generates increased revenue and creates opportunities for long-term debt reduction.

Public awareness and engagement are also critical in addressing the debt crisis. As citizens become more informed about the complexities of the national debt and its implications, they can actively participate in discussions and advocate for responsible fiscal policies. By engaging in a collective effort, Americans can contribute to the development of sustainable solutions that preserve the nation’s economic future.

Ultimately, the United States must confront the challenges presented by its soaring national debt head-on. By adopting a comprehensive and strategic approach, the government can work towards reducing the debt burden, promoting long-term economic stability, and safeguarding the well-being of current and future generations. The path to financial recovery may be arduous, but with a clear focus on responsible fiscal policies and investments in growth, the nation can gradually overcome the debt crisis and secure a more prosperous future.


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Maria Irene
Maria Irene
Maria Irene is a multi-faceted journalist with a focus on various domains including Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Real Estate, Energy, and Macroeconomics. With over a year of experience, she has produced an array of video content, news stories, and in-depth analyses. Her journalistic endeavours also involve a detailed exploration of the Australia-India partnership, pinpointing avenues for mutual collaboration. In addition to her work in journalism, Maria crafts easily digestible financial content for a specialised platform, demystifying complex economic theories for the layperson. She holds a strong belief that journalism should go beyond mere reporting; it should instigate meaningful discussions and effect change by spotlighting vital global issues. Committed to enriching public discourse, Maria aims to keep her audience not just well-informed, but also actively engaged across various platforms, encouraging them to partake in crucial global conversations.


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