Peterson Foundation Statement on National Debt Surpassing $34 Trillion

Jan 2, 2024

NEW YORK — Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, commented today as the United States surpasses $34 trillion in debt. Peterson said:

“We are beginning a new year, but our national debt remains on the same damaging and unsustainable path. Following last year’s debt ceiling deal, we quickly crossed $32 trillion in June, $33 trillion in September, and now we are soaring past $34 trillion. Looking ahead, debt will continue to skyrocket as the Treasury expects to borrow nearly $1 trillion more by the end of March. Adding trillion after trillion in debt, year after year, should be a flashing red warning sign to any policymaker who cares about the future of our country.

“The debt rises unabated because of well-known, structural drivers, including an aging population, high healthcare costs, rising interest costs, and a tax system that doesn’t fund what we’ve promised. On our current path, important programs like Medicare and Social Security will both face the depletion of their trust funds within a decade. Despite these clear and present fiscal dangers, our leaders are still debating this year’s appropriations, with a potential government shutdown looming.

“To help break through partisan gridlock, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both the House and the Senate have supported a bipartisan fiscal commission. This is promising, because a dedicated, comprehensive process would put everything on the table, allowing lawmakers to look across the entire budget to recommend revenue and spending reforms that stabilize our debt. Nine-in-ten voters, across party lines, support a bipartisan fiscal commission, because they understand that we can’t borrow our way to a positive economic future. As we enter a critical election year, it’s an important time for a national conversation about our fiscal outlook and economic future, and an opportunity to start to put the nation on a stronger, more sustainable path.”

To see the national debt ticking above $34 trillion, visit

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