The U.S. national debt has reached $22.01 trillion, according to a statement released by the U.S. Treasury Department.
The national debt has been growing rapidly
The national debt has been exploding over the past decade. Last March, the national debt hit $21 trillion. When President Donald Trump was sworn in, the national debt was $19.95 trillion. In 2009, it was $11.9 trillion — just slightly more than half of what it is now.
According to The Associated Press, some budget experts worry that the increasing national debt could make it harder for the government to respond in the event of a future financial crisis.
The federal deficit is the amount that the government spends in a year beyond what it brings in. This number and the interest that builds up on the national debt are what raises the national debt overall.
How did the debt get so high?
Under the Obama and Trump administrations, the government has seen an increase in spending that has far outmatched revenue.
The U.S. federal deficit hit $780 billion in 2018, and is expected to be around $897 billion this year. Next year, the U.S. Treasury Department expects it to pass $1 trillion, and stay there for the next four years. The only time the federal deficit has passed $1 trillion in a single year before was between 2009 and 2012 when the government was issuing bailouts and trying to counter the effects of the recession.
The Congressional Budget Office indicated that the $1 trillion barrier will be reached a little later — in 2022 — but it expects it to stay there until 2029 due to the number of baby boomers scheduled to retire.