WASHINGTON – The national debt surpassed $22 trillion for the first time on Tuesday, a milestone that experts warned is further proof the country is on an unsustainable financial path that could jeopardize the economic security of every American.
The Treasury Department reported the debt hit $22.012 trillion, a jump of more than $30 billion in just this month.
The national debt has been rising at a faster rate following the passage of President Donald Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax-cut package a little more than a year ago and as the result of congressional efforts to increase spending on domestic and military programs. The nation has added more than $1 trillion in debt in the last 11 months alone.
“Reaching this unfortunate milestone so rapidly is the latest sign that our fiscal situation is not only unsustainable but accelerating,” said Michael A. Peterson, chief executive officer of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan organization working to address the country’s long-term fiscal challenges.
For Americans, the growing debt should be a concern, experts said, because over time it can push up interest rates for consumers and businesses. The higher rates can ripple through the economy, nudging up rates for mortgages, corporate bonds and other types of consumer and business loans.
A big national debt can also make it harder for the government to increase spending to combat the next recession or devote more money to retraining workers and helping the poor, among other programs.