US National Debt Clock: How Its Warning Affects You

US National Debt Clock How Its Warning Affects You

The U.S. debt is tracked by the national debt clock. In December 2021, it first topped $29 trillion. The clock is located on Sixth Avenue in New York City at Anita’s Way, between 151 West 42nd Street and One Bryant Park (West 43rd Street).

You can download the current and historical amounts of the U.S. national debt by visiting the Debt to the Penny website maintained by the U.S. Treasury. This eliminates the need to go to see the debt clock.

Reasons the Debt Clock Matters

The total of all federal government debt that is still unpaid constitutes the U.S. national debt. The budget deficits from each year are added together. The public debt, which makes up around three-fourths of the total debt, is owned by private individuals, companies, and foreign governments who purchased Treasury bills, notes, and bonds. The remaining debt, which is referred to as intragovernmental holdings, is owed by the government to itself and other trust funds, including Social Security.

The debt clock displays the total amount owed by the United States to its people, other nations, and itself. Individual taxes account for the majority of federal revenue. The government depends on you to someday repay the loan. By raising their prices, corporations pass along to you the expense of paying taxes. In other words, additional taxes must be paid by you, your offspring, and your grandchildren in order to pay off the entire debt. Expectations are lowered by the increased tax burden that the U.S. debt level brings about. The quality of life for future generations is seriously threatened.

Loans from other governments are used to pay down a large portion of the debt. It allows them to have a say in American events. Politicians are required to vote to raise the debt ceiling when it is about to be reached. Since 2011, when the Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed in response to the debt ceiling problem, the debt ceiling has been suspended in 2013 (twice), 2014, 2015, and 2017. (twice). Up until March 2019, when the limit was suspended and reset, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 provided a resolution to the debt limit issue. Through July 31, 2021, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 raised the debt ceiling. The national debt was $28.4 trillion at the time, and the debt ceiling had been reached. That fall, the Treasury and Congress started collaborating once more to find a solution to the debt ceiling situation.

The debt ceiling was raised once again on December 14, 2021. The new ceiling was set at $31.4 trillion after the increase of $2.5 trillion. The national debt has grown by the most money because to this growth.

The Debt Clock was installed when?

Seymour Durst, a real estate investor, invented the debt clock in 1989. At that time, the national debt was close to $3 trillion and represented 50% of GDP (GDP). 56 It was first put in place in New York City at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue. According to a popular comment attributed to Durst, “If it annoys people, then it’s working.”

Additionally, Durst purchased front-page newspaper advertisements to further highlight his worries about the rising national debt. In his 1991 speech, he delivered a prophecy: “Federal debt is rising, the economy is contracting, and soon the two will collide.”

Up until 2000, the debt clock accurately reflected the growing national debt. At that point, the 1990s’ economic boom brought in enough money to lower the deficit and debt in the government budget. The debt clock seems to have achieved its objective.

Sadly, that prosperity was short-lived. Lower revenues and more government spending as a result of the 2001 recession and the 9/11 terrorist attacks led to an increase in debt. By July 2002, the national debt had increased to $6 trillion, more than twice what it had been at the time the clock was first put in place. At that moment, the clock was restarted by the Durst Corporation. In September 2008, when the debt surpassed $10 trillion, a further digit was required.

More than $18 trillion has been added to the national debt since the 2008 financial crisis. The national debt reached four new peaks in 2020 alone. The table below illustrates important landmarks for the nation’s debt from 2017 to 2021.

What does the debt clock have to say to us?

Even more crucial is the warning from the debt clock. There are no longer two elements that permitted the U.S. debt to increase without risk. First, in the 1980s, payroll taxes on baby boomers brought in more money for the Social Security Trust Fund than was necessary. The Fund was “loaned” to the government to cover rising deficit spending instead of being invested to be accessible when those workers retire. Due to the low interest rates on Treasury bonds made possible by this interest-free loan, more debt financing was possible. Although it can only be returned by higher taxes when the baby boomers retire, technically, it isn’t a loan.

Second, many foreigners who own U.S. debt are making bigger investments in their home countries’ economies. Reduced demand for US Treasury securities could eventually lead to higher interest rates, which would impede the economy. The dollar is under pressure as a result of this declining demand. The value of U.S. dollars and Treasury securities denominated in dollars decreases as they lose appeal. Foreign holders receive repayment in currency that is worth less as the value of the dollar diminishes, which reduces demand even further.


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