Donald Trump, while he was still a presidential hopeful, announced two strategies to reduce the debt. He promised to grow the economy six percent annually to increase tax revenues, and promised to “eliminate waste and redundancy in federal spending”. But the reality, nearly two years into his tenure, is quite different.
How much debt does the USA have?
At the end of 2018, the US national debt stood at $21.974 trillion
The Treasury Department reported the debt hit $22.012 trillion (£17.07 trillion) this month.
That means that, in February alone, the debt jumped more than $30 billion.
And it’s well over $2 trillion higher than when President Donald Trump took office.
The national debt has been rising at an accelerated rate in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, when Congress and the Obama administration approved stimulus funding in order to keep the economy afloat.
The debt began to level off at the beginning of Trump’s term.
But it bounced up again last year as the tax cuts passed at the end of 2017 took effect and the dramatically lower corporate tax rate lowered Treasury revenues.
On September 8, 2017, Mr Trump signed a bill increasing the debt ceiling.
Later that day, the debt exceeded $20 trillion for the first time in US history.
The national debt has been rising at a faster rate following the passage of President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax-cut package a little more than a year ago and as the result of congressional efforts to increase spending on domestic and military programs.
The nation has added more than $1 trillion in debt in the last 11 months alone.
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The numbers are alarming experts and adding to worry that the country is on an unsustainable path.
Michael A. Peterson, chief executive officer of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan organisation working to address the country’s long-term fiscal challenges, said: “Reaching this unfortunate milestone so rapidly is the latest sign that our fiscal situation is not only unsustainable but accelerating.”
He attributed the growing national debt to “a structural mismatch between spending and revenues”.
The biggest drivers are the ageing population, high healthcare costs, and growing interest payments, combined with a tax code that fails to generate sufficient revenue, he said.