Entries in National Debt (6)


National Debt Tops $16 Trillion, Says Treasury Department

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The national debt has reached an all-time high of $16 trillion, according to the Treasury Department.

The new debt figures came out just hours before the three-day Democratic National Convention kicked off in Charlotte, N.C., fueling new GOP attacks against President Obama and his spending policies.

“Today’s news is another sad reminder of President Obama’s broken promise to cut the deficit in half,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a statement Tuesday. “This debt is a drain on our economy and a crushing burden on our kids and grandkids, and it’s yet another indication that the president’s policies have made things worse.”

It appears the U.S. first reached the new $16 trillion debt figure last week, on Aug. 31, according to the Daily Treasury Statement. The Treasury Department quietly posted it on its website Tuesday.

The new debt numbers work out to about $51,000 for every American, according to U.S. Census population estimates.

Out on the campaign trail in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Rep. Paul Ryan Tuesday called the new debt figure a serious threat to jobs and the economy.

“Of all the broken promises from President Obama, this is probably the worst one because this debt is threatening jobs today,” he said. “It is threatening prosperity today, and it is guaranteeing that our children and grandchildren get a diminished future.”

The Republican National Committee was quick to seize on the debt news, going on the attack with a new online ad.

The one-minute ad shows three clips of the president speaking about the national debt, overlaid rising debt numbers.  It hits Obama for his remarks on the campaign trail in 2008, when the debt first topped $9 trillion, as well as his February 2009 announcement at a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” that he planned to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term.

“By his own measurement, President Obama has failed,” the ad says at the end. “Talk is cheap. Our debt isn’t.”

Republicans have made the debt a major issue this election cycle, installing two large debt clocks as centerpieces of their convention last week in Tampa, Fla.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the national debt has increased more than $5 trillion during the president’s first term. He added that the president’s proposed tax on small business owners could mean 700,000 lost job opportunities.

“It’s time to address the serious fiscal challenges we face and stop spending money we don’t have,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “We cannot afford more of the same failed policies, big-government spending and massive tax hikes on hardworking families and small businesses.”

Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., Tuesday called the debt “untenable, irresponsible, and unsustainable.”

“Clearly, the President’s vision for America is one of debt and dependency, rather than opportunity and prosperity,” he said in a statement. “Instead of spending our way into oblivion and increasing our ever-growing debt, we must begin the process to restoring our fiscal health through growing the economy.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Deficit Could Come in Under $1 Trillion for Fiscal Year 2012

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Now is not the time to break out the champagne but at least some economic indicators seem to be headed in the right direction.

According to Treasury Department figures released Monday, the federal deficit during the first two months of the 2012 fiscal year that began on Oct. 1 shows the government shortfall running at about $236 billion.

Again, don't pop the cork just yet because that's merely $55 billion less than in October and November 2010.

Still, if this pattern continues over the next 10 months, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the 2012 federal deficit will come in at around $973 billion by the time Sept. 30, 2012 rolls around.  That would mean a federal deficit of under $1 trillion for the first time in four years.  This year it was $1.4 trillion.

However, if Congress gets around to extending the Social Security payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits, chances are the deficit will wind up over $1 trillion anyway.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dead Man Trims National Debt

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- A deceased Florida man just did what Congress has struggled to do: He reduced the $15 trillion national debt, even though only by the most miniscule of slivers.

When James H. Davidson Jr. died in December 2010 at the age of 87, he left his 3,900-square-foot house and $1 million he had in other assets to the United States Treasury.

Davidson’s sprawling Spanish-style home sold for $1.175 million at auction Saturday, providing Uncle Sam with some more pocket change to pay down a national debt that ballooned to a record high in November.

Davidson, who was a veteran and briefly worked for Miami-Dade County government, never married or had children. He did, however, have nieces and nephews in the area, according to the Miami Herald.

“We in the family found it highly unusual,” his nephew, David Harum, told the newspaper of his uncle’s non-traditional decision.

George Richards, owner of the National Auction Company, told ABC News that more than 750 people toured the home and 17 ultimately registered to bid, which required turning in a $25,000 cashier’s check.

The winning bidder was Barbara Perez, who along with her husband and another couple, bid on the house as a joint venture.

The home was named a historic landmark in November by the Historic Preservation Board of Coral Gables, Fla.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Economists Shift Concern to Federal Deficit

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The jobs market appears to be getting better at last, and consumers are spending more.  So what's the biggest thing that now has economists worried?

"I think that the number-one issue is the deficit," Chad Moutray with the National Association for Business Economics said.  "There definitely is a concern about getting the deficit down."

Moutray added that most economists backed the stimulus but now the government must start cutting the budget deficit, and soon.

"The more we continue to borrow, the more we continue to depend on deficit spending to be able to do all the programs we are doing, the less likely we're going to be able to maintain our standard of living going forward," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


What Kind of Things Could You Buy with the National Debt?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite a pledge by President Barack Obama on Monday to freeze federal spending for the next five years, the United States budget deficit will continue to grow. As it balloons to over $14 trillion, a bit of perspective can help put the debt into real terms for the average consumer. Using the figures provided by, here's how the national debt breaks down to more than $45,000 per citizen. That's up from just more than $20,000 per citizen back in 2000.

As for what these numbers mean in more tangible terms, the national debt could buy you 4,080,522,307 tickets to the Super Bowl at $3,676 per ticket. That means you could cover attendance for the next 56,674 Super Bowls if the venue held 72,000 people.

Speaking of football, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward made $5,804,680 last season. If his salary remained stagnant, the national debt could fund his playing career for over two million more years. He may need the help if there's a lockout next season in the NFL.

Home foreclosures have been a huge problem ever since the economy collapsed, but if you had more than $14 billion, you could purchase 61 million homes at an average price of $242,000.

Not to put all your eggs in one basket, but you could see a lot of Lady Gaga shows if you had money equivalent to the amount of the national debt. StubHub says that Gaga's shows might have been a "little monster" on your credit card bill, ranking as the priciest act of 2010 with tickets coming in at an average of $407. You'd be able to buy 36,855,036,855 tickets to see her perform.

All things considered, it might be better to just keep your money in the bank.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama on Debt: "We're Going to Have to Make Some Tough Choices"

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SEOUL, South Korea) -- President Obama refrained on Thursday from addressing specific proposals put forward by his presidential Debt Commission to reduce the debt, but he called on politicians to hold their fire and work in a bipartisan way to solve the momentous problem of the nation’s $13.7 trillion debt.

“I have not seen the final report from the Deficit Commission,” the president said at a joint appearance with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, after a reporter asked him for reaction.  “I have said very clearly until I see the final report that I will not comment on it because I want them to have the space to do their work.  They are still in negotiations.”

Obama pointed out that the two co-chairs of the Commission -- former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson -- are trying to secure 14 out of 18 Senate Finance Committee votes for their recommendations to go forward, “and I want to make sure they’ve got the room and the space to do so,” the president said.

The draft report by the co-chairs presents some painful and politically unpalatable recommendations -- not merely $2 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in tax increases over the next decade, but also means-testing Social Security, raising the retirement age to 69, expanding the payroll tax, closing one third of overseas U.S. military bases and raising the gasoline tax.

There is something in the proposal to offend everyone, whether doctor -- reducing Medicare fees for doctors); lawyer -- enacting tort reform to “reduce the cost of defensive medicine”; or Indian chief -- ending payments to Native American tribes for abandoned mines.

The president said he convened the commission “precisely because I am prepared to make some tough decisions” but noted that he “can’t make them alone.”

 “I need Congress to work with me,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to make some tough choices. The only way to make those tough choices historically has been if both parties are willing to move forward together.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio