Uncle Sam’s total debt now tops $30 trillion, the Treasury Department said Tuesday.
Of that, $23.5 trillion is held by outside creditors, and $6.5 trillion is IOUs within the federal government, such as borrowing from trust funds.
It took just a month and a half to add the latest $1 trillion, after Congress approved a debt limit surge late last year to accommodate the government’s pandemic-fueled spending spree.
“The milestone of $30 trillion in debt should be a giant red flag for all of us about America’s future economic health, generational equity, and role in the world,” said Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a prominent budget watchdog.
He said the path to $30 trillion was paved by “fiscal irresponsibility on both sides of the aisle,” but said the country as a whole will suffer with rising interest costs crowding out other spending programs, even as demands on the federal budget grow with an aging population.
The debt stood at just $5.7 trillion when President George W. Bush took office in 2001, and rose to $10.6 trillion by the time President Obama was sworn in. It stood at $19.9 trillion for President Trump in 2017, and stood at $27.8 trillion when President Biden took office last year.