The United States Treasury Department showed in a daily report on Tuesday that the nation has reached a new milestone: surpassing $22 TRILLION dollars in debt. The total outstanding public debt is $22.01 trillion, up from the total of $19.95 trillion when President Trump took office in January 2017.
There are several factors in the acceleration of the growing debt, including the $1.5 trillion tax cut Trump passed in December 2017, spending increases by Congress on military and domestic programs, and ballooning annual deficits.
The national debt is the sum total of all the annual budget deficits. Given the fact that the imbalance from the last fiscal year hit $779 billion and is on track this year to hit $897 billion, the Congressional Budget Office predicts that the annual budget will continue the pattern of growth and top $1 trillion by 2022 and not drop below $1 trillion through 2029.
The topic of “balancing the budget” is one that always gets a lot of airtime, especially in a highly charged political climate like we are in right now. But many progressive lawmakers and experts are warming to the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) which proposes that the federal debt is not an economic restraint for the US. It more or less holds the idea that the government doesn’t need to actually “balance the budget” and that budget surpluses really serve to hurt the economy.
One top supporter of MMT is newcomer and recent news-maker Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who in recent interviews with Business Insider and “60 Minutes”, made waves not only by calling for more conversation about MMT but also by saying she believed in taxing the super-rich sect of Americans – those with incomes above $10 billion- at a rate of up to 70% to give the economy a much needed boost.