National debt of the United States

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Under President Obama, the National debt is approaching 100% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Greek Debt Crisis of 2010 was preciptated when Greek debt reached 115% of GDP.[1]

The National Debt is the amount of money the United States government owes various creditors due to deficit spending. The current national debt is approximately $13.7 trillion. [2]

Debt of the US

In January 20, 2001; the same year of George W. Bush's inauguration into office, the national debt of the United States was 5.7 trillion dollars and by the end of his run in office (January 19, 2009) it was at 10.6 trillion dollars. [3]

Debt to GDP Ratio

Instead of measuring an absolute number, the debt to GDP ratio is the measurement of the national debt as a percentage of the gross domestic product. It is a measure of the debt in relation to the economy and of our capacity to carry and repay debt.[4] The US Debt to GDP ratio is getting larger, as the US economy's debt is growing faster than the GDP.[5] This has not always been the case: During the last 8 presidenial administrations(pre-Obama), the US Debt to GDP ratio was reduced under Johnson, Nixon, Carter, and Clinton; but increased under Ford, Reagan, George H W Bush, and George W Bush.

Debt Ceiling

Main Article: Debt Ceiling

The debt ceiling is a limit imposed on the Treasury by Congress. The Treasury may not issue debt in excess of this amount to fund government operations. As of the beginning of May 2011, the debt ceiling is $14.294 trillion and was last raised on February 12, 2010.[6] Raising the debt ceiling is not the same thing as spending more money, since spending is dictated by the Federal Budget, but it does allow the Federal Government to meet any existing financial obligations. It is not certain what would happen if the national debt reaches the debt ceiling without action by Congress. Liberal politicians and pundits, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, claim that government would default on its obligations, causing global financial markets to collapse. Many financial market experts and conservatives, especially TEA Partiers opposed to raising the debt ceiling, see no evidence that a default would occur in such a situation.[7] However, in 1983, when Congress was debating whether to raise the debt ceiling, Ronald Reagan said:

“The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar in exchange markets. The Nation can ill afford to allow such a result. The risks, the costs, the disruptions, and the incalculable damage lead me to but one conclusion: the Senate must pass this legislation before the Congress adjourns.”[8]


7. Steve McGourty [1]|United States National Debt (1938 to Present)May 6, 2007

  4. National Debt burden: Full history 29-Jan-05
  5. Steve McGourty United States National Debt (1938 to Present)May 6, 2007
  6. "H. J. Res. 45: Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010"
  7. Hurlbut, Terry A. "Debt Ceiling Reached, Sky Does Not Fall." May 16, 2011. Conservative News and Views.
  8. "Ronald Reagan on Raising the Debt Ceiling." May 17, 2011.

Further reading