NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 4, 2010

The federal government is now $13 trillion in the red, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday, marking the first time the government has sunk that far into debt and putting a sharp point on the spending debate on Capitol Hill. 

  • Calculated down to the exact penny, the debt totaled $13,050,826,460,886.97 as of Tuesday, leaping nearly $60 billion since Friday, the previous day for which figures were released.
  • At $13 trillion, that figure has risen by $2.4 trillion in about 500 days since President Obama took office, or an average of $4.9 billion a day.
  • That's almost three times the daily average of $1.7 billion under the previous administration, and led Republicans on Wednesday to place blame squarely at the feet of Obama and his fellow Democrats. 

"A $13 trillion debt is an alarm bell and a wake-up call combined, but Democrats are not even trying to pass a budget," says House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). "President Obama should call on congressional Democrats to pass a budget that provides the fiscal discipline economists say is needed to create jobs and grow our economy." 

The $13 trillion debt number is not significant other than that it's another milestone, but its tolling shows just how much debt has been amassed in a short time, says the Washington Times. 

  • It took 197 days for the debt to rise from $12 trillion to $13 trillion, which is the second shortest trillion-dollar rise in history.
  • The fastest trillion came at the end of 2008 and early 2009, when the Wall Street bailout created giant new obligations.
  • At $13 trillion, that works out to an obligation of more than $42,000 for every U.S. resident. 

"Throughout history, excessive debt has led to the demise of great nations," said Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).  "This milestone should be a wake-up call for Congress.  No one will bail out America if we continue to live beyond our means." 

Source: Stephen Dinan, "Federal debt tops $13 trillion mark; GOP sounds 'alarm' on red ink," Washington Times, June 2, 2010.

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