01-3-2024, 7:18 PM

The $34 trillion US national debt is a record

The US government's debt has surpassed $34 trillion for the first time, just weeks before Congress must agree on new federal funding plans.

According to Treasury Department data, "total public debt outstanding" reached $34.001 trillion on December 29. This figure, also known as the national debt, represents the total amount of outstanding borrowing by the United States federal government accumulated throughout the country's history.

The achievement comes just three months after the US national debt surpassed $33 trillion due to a ballooning budget deficit — the difference between what the government spends and what it receives in taxes.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the fiscal watchdog Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, called the record figure "a truly depressing 'achievement.'"

"Though our level of debt is dangerous for both our economy and national security," she said in a statement released Tuesday.

Concerningly, the national debt is rising at a time when the economy is relatively strong and unemployment is low, both of which are considered favorable conditions for reducing the federal deficit. In order to stimulate growth, the government frequently increases spending during periods of weak economic growth and high unemployment.

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