U.S. Debt Doubles at Double the Pace

Released: 
November 05, 2012

The U.S. debt has doubled in seven years to more than $16 trillion. That’s more than $50,000 for every American.

The national debt has doubled since 2005 to more than $16 trillion. That’s seven years. The last time it doubled, from $4 trillion to $8 trillion, it took 14 years.

On this Election Day, consider this: Debt has been an issue for most of the country’s history, no matter which party was in charge. President George Washington left a national debt of $82 million when his term ended in 1797. There were 4.9 million Americans at the time and the debt could have been retired with a contribution of $16.73 from each of them. But today’s debt equals more than $50,000 per American.

Relative to the total output of the U.S. economy, our national debt is higher than at any point since World War II. Impartial federal agencies from the Congressional Budget Office to the Government Accountability Office have called our debt increases “unsustainable” and warned they will lead to a severe fiscal crisis.

Today’s Face the Facts USA video puts it all in perspective. Play it, share it, debate it with your friends – and save a thought for our discussion thread below. It’s a question we’ve asked before: how much debt is too much debt? Are we there yet?