In a time when government spending is already being scrutinized, the U.S. national debt has reached $33 trillion for the first time. On Monday afternoon, the Treasury Department released new data showing that the national debt, which represents how much money the United States owes its creditors, had risen to $33.04 trillion.
While Congress works to avoid a government shutdown at the end of September, the national debt has reached a new high. The short-term plan to finance the government presented by House Republicans would expire on October 31. This “continuing resolution” would reduce federal spending by 8%, with the exception of defense, veterans’ services, and emergency relief.
According to the CBO’s most recent projections, the national debt will double during the next thirty years. By the end of last year, the national debt had reached nearly 100% of GDP. The existing law predicts that by 2053, the debt-to-GDP ratio will have skyrocketed to 181%, an unprecedented high.
The White House has accused Republicans of being responsible for the staggering increase in the national debt, pointing to the trillions of dollars spent on Republican tax cuts that benefited the wealthy and large corporations as the primary cause of the debt’s meteoric climb over the past two decades.
Another issue is that the cost of servicing the national debt has risen due to the increase in interest rates over the past year and a half. The cost to the federal government of borrowing money to pay off its debt will climb as interest rates rise.
Over the next three decades, interest payments on the national debt are expected to increase at a faster rate than any other category in the federal budget. Interest payments are expected to reach $5.4 trillion by 2053, exceeding spending on all federal statutory and discretionary programs combined.