The national debt has passed a new milestone, surpassing $22 trillion for the first time ever. Tuesday’s daily statement from the Treasury Department showed that total outstanding debt now stands at $22.01 trillion. The public debt stood at $19.95 trillion when President Trump took office. The rate of debt figure has quickened following the passage of Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut in December 2017, as well as after increases in spending on domestic and military programs. The Trump administration argues that the tax cuts will eventually pay for themselves by generating faster economic growth—a projection disputed by many economists.
The national debt is the total of the annual budget deficits. The deficit increased by 15 percent over last year, and is expected to continue increasing in order to fund Social Security and Medicare as baby boomers retire. Michael Peterson, head of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which focuses on economic challenges of the United States, says interest costs incurred due to the growing national debt “will weigh on our economy and make it harder to fund important investments for our future.”