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Thomas Kenny

Just How Crushing is the United States' Debt Load?

By January 22, 2013

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Investors are feeling a lot better these days following the resolution of the fiscal cliff worries. Stocks are hitting five-year highs, and higher-risk segments of the bond market continue to outperform. Does this mean that all is now right with the world? Not exactly: the United States' debt is now $16,432,631,489,854.70, according to the TreasuryDirect website, which amounts to $52,737.67 for every man, woman, and child in the country.

To put that in perspective, consider this: according to data compiled by the Wall Street Journal, the United States' debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is currently the fifth-worst among all nations in the world, at 105.6% - meaning that the country's debt is now 105.6% of its annual economic output. The only nations in worse shape are Japan, at 238%, Greece (157%), Ireland (125.8%), and Italy (119.7%) - all of which are renowned as fiscal basket cases, and three of which were the leading cause of the European debt crisis.

For now, the financial markets aren't concerned. But at some point, this is going to become a problem that can't be overlooked.

Learn more: What it the debt-to-GDP ratio?

February 4, 2014 at 2:10 am
(1) David Lewenz says:

The ability of the United States the global world currency country to pull out of the tailspin on mounting debt is just not possible. What we have done to our nation and future generations is the creation of massive greed to allow a few to prosper off the backs of the middle class and thinking that the middle class can pick up the cost of this greed. The great depression will be upon us prior to 2016, The total collapse of our nation will only be stopped if the government decides to confiscate wealth to pay the debt. As the government and Federal Reserve have no ability to pay its debt, nor deleverage its balance sheet. This is what will cause the collapse of our country. Unless the rich and top fortune 500 companies decide to turn its wealth over to the government to pay our debt.

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