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U.S. national debt soars in 2023; per-taxpayer burden reaches $100,000

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The U.S. national debt continued to soar in 2023, surpassing $33 trillion.

It’s still rising rapidly.

The U.S. Treasury Department estimates the national debt at $33.87 trillion, but the deficit figures for December could put the figure over $34 trillion.

For fiscal year 2023, which began on Oct. 1, 2022, and ended Sept. 30, 2023, the deficit rose about $1.7 trillion. The federal government spent $6.13 trillion while total revenue was only $4.44 trillion, according to the Treasury Department.

While the Treasury normally tracks the deficit by the fiscal year, a look at the monthly Treasury Department reports shows the federal government borrowed about $1.65 trillion this calendar year, not counting the unreleased data from December.

Deficits have spiked in recent years, topping a trillion dollars per year during the COVID-19 pandemic. While deficits have decreased from that peak, they still remain higher than before the pandemic began.

As The Center Square previously reported, the rough debt estimate and rough U.S. population estimate means every American would owe about $100,000 just to pay off the debt in full and not including ongoing operations of the federal government.

Interest payments on the national debt alone will soon be the biggest expense for the federal government. Several federal programs face insolvency in the coming decade, such as the trust funds for Medicare, Social Security and highway maintenance.

Federal projections show the national debt will be twice as large as the U.S. economy within 30 years.

“By the end of 2023, federal debt held by the public equals 98 percent of GDP,” the U.S. Congressional Budget Office said in July. “Debt then rises in relation to GDP: It surpasses its historical high in 2029, when it reaches 107 percent of GDP, and climbs to 181 percent of GDP by 2053.”

Experts did celebrate the passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, a bipartisan bill the president signed in June that cut spending over the next 10 years.

“In 2023, Congress and the President approved $1.3 trillion of ten-year deficit reduction – consisting of more than $1.6 trillion of savings and roughly $350 billion of costs,” the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said in a statement. “This has been a monumental year for fiscal policy with the enactment of the bipartisan Fiscal Responsibility Act – the largest deficit reduction measure implemented in a dozen years.”

Despite the growing burden on taxpayers, the federal debt has not been a primary topic of debate among 2024 presidential candidates.

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