Peterson Foundation Statement on $29 Trillion in National Debt

Dec 16, 2021

NEW YORK — Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, commented today as the United States surpasses $29 trillion in outstanding debt. Peterson said:

“The unfortunate milestone of $29 trillion in debt is a stark reminder that our nation’s fiscal foundation is insecure and unsustainable. In addition to our current debt, we continue on a dangerous and irresponsible path of borrowing, with another $13 trillion projected to be added over the next 10 years. This is a structural problem that existed long before the pandemic, and we need to deal with it for our nation’s future.

“The ever upward trajectory of our debt has real consequences for our nation. Our ability to prepare for future crises is threatened, while critical social programs like Medicare and Social Security are on unstable footing. And mounting debt means that interest costs will become our fastest growing ‘program,’ and are on track to consume half of all federal revenues by 2050 – a staggering and unjust result for the next generation.

“The President and Congress have a responsibility to address this fundamental challenge of the United States. As they consider new policies, including the Build Back Better Act, they must make good on their commitment to fully offset new spending, without gimmicks or artificial expiration dates. More than that, they must take meaningful steps to address the underlying structural deficit, to ensure that current programs, relied on by millions of vulnerable Americans, remain strong and sustainable for the future.

“To have the resources and growing economy we need to truly solve our nation’s problems over the long run, we must create a sustainable fiscal foundation. Ensuring an inclusive and moral economic system means not only addressing today’s needs, but also securing our fiscal position so the next generation can confront the challenges of tomorrow and have their own chance to build broad-based prosperity and opportunity.”

# # #

What Does the Debt Mean for Our Future?

We all have a responsibility to build a brighter fiscal and economic future for the next generation.

National Debt Clock

See the latest numbers and learn more about the causes of our high and rising debt.