Grim Milestone: National Debt Expect To Hit $16 Trillion Mark This Week

Mitt Romney

In what will likely make for a convenient talking point for Republicans at their national convention, the national debt is expected to hit the $16 trillion mark sometime this week:

( – The federal government’s debt could hit an unprecedented $16 trillion this week while the Republican Party is holding its national convention in Tampa, Fla. …

At the close of business on Thursday, Aug. 23, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government’s debt stood at $15,976,519,029,144.14. That left it $23,480,970,855.86 short of the $16 trillion mark.

So far in this fiscal year (from Oct. 1 through Aug. 23), the debt has grown by an average of $3,616,398,477.40 per calendar day ($1,186,178,700,586.99 divided by 328 days). Were the debt to grow at that pace in the week following last Thursday’s close of $15.976 trillion, it would hit $16 trillion this Thursday–the day Mitt Romney is scheduled to give his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination.

On this date in 2008 the national debt was $10.193 trillion, representing all the debt accumulated by every President and Congress since the founding of the nation. From then until now President Bush was in office for roughly 3 more months, and President Obama has been in office for nearly four years, and we’ve added roughly $5.794 trillion in new debt, a figure that will undoubtedly hit $6 trillion by the time the national election is settled.

That is an unbelievable sum of money, and keep in mind that one of our largest entitlement programs is now adding to it every day. Social Security is in deficit, obligated to pay out more in benefits than it collects in revenues, forcing the program to dip into its trust fund to make good. Except, the trust fund is nothing but US Treasury bonds, and when the Treasury must make good on the bonds, they borrow the money from elsewhere adding to the national debt.

This is not a problem we can tax our way out of. This is a problem that requires fundamental reform of government spending, from sacred cows like Medicare and Social Security down to the smallest parts of the federal budget.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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