How the U.S. Is Building an Unprecedented Mountain of Debt

https://fortune.com/longform/united-states-federal-national-debt-over-time/

Piling up debt in times of tumult is a strategy with a long, successful history in the U.S. When confronted with wars or cataclysmic downturns, the government borrows heavily—driving up debt relative to U.S. GDP—and rebalances after good times return. But a decade after the most recent crisis-driven borrowing binge, the Great Recession, U.S. debt continues to soar. According to the Treasury Department, federal borrowing is set to hit $1.23 trillion in 2019 on top of $1.34 trillion in 2018. Absent major legal or policy changes, the Congressional Budget Office projects the debt-to-GDP ratio will rise into uncharted territory in decades to come.

Sources: Congressional Budget Office; Treasury Department

A version of this article appears in the September 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “Building a mountain of debt.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

Fortune Change the World 2019: See which companies made the list
—America’s CEOs seek a new purpose for the corporation
—Someday, Apple may make your new iPhone out of pieces of your old iPhone
—Change the World 2019: Companies to watch
Q&A: Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on automation, the tragedy in El Paso, and more
Subscribe to Fortune’s CEO Daily newsletter for the latest business news and analysis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *