U.S. National Debt Hits $22 Trillion — A New Record That’s Predicted To Fall : NPR

Despite being in the second-longest economic expansion since the post–World War II boom, the U.S. is projected to rack up national debt at rates not seen since the 1940s. Here, the U.S. Treasury Department’s main building is seen in Washington, D.C.

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Despite being in the second-longest economic expansion since the post–World War II boom, the U.S. is projected to rack up national debt at rates not seen since the 1940s. Here, the U.S. Treasury Department’s main building is seen in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. government’s public debt is now more than $22 trillion — the highest it’s ever been. The Treasury Department data comes as tax revenue has fallen and federal spending continues to rise. The new debt level reflects a rise of more than $2 trillion from the day President Trump took office in 2017.

Despite being in the second-longest economic expansion since the post–World War II boom, the U.S. is projected to rack up annual deficits and incur national debt at rates not seen since the 1940s, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Over the next 10 years, annual federal deficits — when Congress spends more than it takes in through tax revenues — are expected to average $1.2 trillion, which would be 4.4 percent of gross domestic product. That’s far higher than the 2.9 percent of GDP that has been the average for the past 50 years.

“Other than the period immediately after World War II, the only other time the average deficit has been so large over so many years was after the 2007–2009 recession,” the CBO said last month.

Annual deficits and the national debt rose to new heights under the Obama administration, and the trend has continued under President Trump.

As a share of the U.S. economy, the national debt stood at 78 percent of GDP in 2018. But the CBO says it will rise to 93 percent by the end of 2029. Again, those numbers put the ratio at levels not seen since just after World War II.

“By 2029, debt is estimated to reach $28.7 trillion,” the CBO said in January, referring to federal debt held by the public — a figure that doesn’t include the billions of dollars that the government owes to itself. In recent years, those intragovernmental holdings have hovered well above $5.5 trillion.

“This milestone is another sad reminder of the inexcusable tab our nation’s leaders continue to run up and will leave for the next generation,” reads a joint statement from former GOP senator Judd Gregg and former Democratic governor Ed Rendell, the co-chairmen of the nonpartisan group Campaign to Fix the Debt.

Calling on Congress to cut into the national debt, Gregg and Rendell said, “The fiscal recklessness over past years has been shocking, with few willing to step up with a real plan. We need responsible leadership to fix the debt, not a worsening of partisanship.”

The U.S. hit the new height despite Trump’s promises on the campaign trail that he would reduce America’s debt load. Almost exactly four years ago, he said that if the national debt topped $21 trillion by the end of President Obama’s term in office, “Obama will have effectively bankrupted our country.”

The national debt nearly doubled under Obama: It was $10.6 trillion when he took office and was nearly $20 trillion when he left. The rise has been blamed on factors from the Great Recession to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and rising costs of Social Security and Medicare. Many of those pressures still exist today.

Trump has long said that he knows how to solve America’s debt problem. As he said in 2015, “When you have $18-$19 trillion in debt, they need someone like me to straighten it out.”

“@FoxNews: @realDonaldTrump: “When you have $18-$19 trillion in debt, they need someone like me to straighten it out”

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

On Jan. 20, 2017, the total amount of outstanding public debt was $19.9 trillion. On Monday, it surpassed $22 trillion. That’s despite Trump saying in August of last year that new tariffs on imported goods would let the U.S. “start paying down large amounts” of the national debt.

“The president is very much aware of the realities presented by our national debt,” White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said last October, when the government said the federal deficit had ballooned to $779 billion in the most recent fiscal year.

Mulvaney said the deficits would be offset by gains in economic growth; he also called on Congress to rein in what he called “irresponsible and unnecessary spending.”

The new data comes as Washington copes with the fallout of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history — and tries to avoid another shutdown by reaching a deal on Trump’s demands for a wall along the U.S. southern border.

The U.S. is entering new debt levels more than a year after Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax cut that cut the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. The legislation also gave most U.S. taxpayers at least a small break, although the largest benefits went to the wealthiest Americans.

Republicans in Congress and the White House had predicted their late 2017 tax cut would boost economic growth and help create jobs. While the cut prompted the CBO to raise its GDP and job growth projections, as NPR’s Susan Davis has reported, “GDP growth is forecast to slow down after 2020, in part because all of this economic stimulus is likely to drive up interest rates.”

The CBO predicts federal spending will rise from 20.8 percent of GDP in 2019 to 23 percent in 2029, with programs such as Social Security and Medicare expected to spend more to cope with an aging population and rising health care costs.

Providing historical context for the current pattern, NPR’s Scott Horsley recently reported:

“The deficit typically grows during recessions — when tax receipts shrink and demand for food stamps and other government assistance rises — then falls during good times. The current spike in the deficit at a time of strong economic growth and low unemployment represents a break with that historical pattern.”

This content was originally published here.


Philando Castile Charity Covers Entire School District’s Lunch Debt

Two years after he was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota, Philando Castile is still helping students afford lunch.

A charity created in Castile’s honor has paid off the lunch debt for every student in the 56 schools in the St. Paul Public School District, including the school where Castile worked as a cafeteria supervisor.

Castile had worked as a cafeteria supervisor at the J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School in St. Paul for two years at the time he was killed.

Families said students at the school took his death especially hard.

In 2017, around the anniversary of Castile’s death, families of children at J.J. Hill told the Pioneer Press that Castile often high-fived students and helped them with their lunches.

“It’s one thing to say he was a good guy, and it’s another thing to know he was a good guy,” Eisen Ramgren, a student’s parent, told the St. Paul newspaper.

Pam Fergus, an educator who launched the charity, told CNN she delivered a $35,000 check to the St. Paul Public School District this week. The charity, which had an original goal of raising $5,000, now has more than $117,000 in donations, according to the YouCaring page. The funds will continue to pay for student lunches “for years to come,” Fergus wrote in a fundraising update.

Fergus told Fox 9 News that Castile was known at his school for paying for students’ lunches when they couldn’t afford it.

“Philando was famous for that,” she said. “His mother told me that every day he would call her after leaving his job at J.J. Hill and talk about the kids. Another kid didn’t have the money in his account, so Philando would take $3 out of his pocket and buy that kid’s lunch for the day.” 

In July 2016, St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Castile after pulling him over for a broken taillight in a St. Paul suburb.

Yanez maintained that he thought Castile was reaching for the weapon, while Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s girlfriend who filmed the traffic stop from the passenger seat, said he was reaching for his wallet.

Footage of the incident from a police dash cam and Reynolds’ camera shows Castile calmly telling Yanez he had a firearm. After the shooting, Reynolds said Yanez had just asked Castile for his license and registration, adding that Castile was licensed to carry.

Now that the charity has reached well over its fundraising goal, Fergus hopes it can continue to raise money for more schools in Minnesota. 

“I don’t know how much it would take to help the whole state of Minnesota,” Fergus told CNN. “There is no end goal. Basically, I want a million bucks in there.”

This content was originally published here.


$1.25 TRILLION: Sen. Elizabeth Warren Proposes Using Taxpayer Money To Pay Student Debt | Daily Wire

Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to use taxpayer money to “cancel” hundreds of billions of dollars in student-loan debt and offer debt-free college for millions more, which would cost $1.25 trillion over the next decade.

In a blog post on Medium, the Massachusetts Democrat said the “huge student loan debt burden” is “crushing millions of families and acting as an anchor on our economy. It’s reducing home ownership rates. It’s leading fewer people to start businesses. It’s forcing students to drop out of school before getting a degree. It’s a problem for all of us.”

The first step in addressing this crisis is to deal head-on with the outstanding debt that is weighing down millions of families and should never have been required in the first place. That’s why I’m calling for something truly transformational — the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 42 million Americans.

My plan for broad student debt cancellation will:

Cancel debt for more than 95% of the nearly 45 million Americans with student loan debt;
Wipe out student loan debt entirely for more than 75% of the Americans with that debt;

Substantially increase wealth for Black and Latinx families and reduce both the Black-White and Latinx-White wealth gaps; and

Provide an enormous middle-class stimulus that will boost economic growth, increase home purchases, and fuel a new wave of small business formation.

“Experts estimate my debt cancellation plan creates a one-time cost to the government of $640 billion. The Universal Free College program brings the total cost of the program to roughly $1.25 trillion over ten years,” Warren wrote.

But Warren says “the actual costs of these new ideas are likely to be even less than that,” and claims “we can fully cover the cost of these ideas with revenue from my Ultra-Millionaire Tax on the wealthiest 75,000 families in the country — those with fortunes of $50 million or more.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that would entail “an annual 2% levy on wealth above $50 million and an additional 1% tax on wealth above $1 billion.”

The senator, who is running for president in 2020, also proposes using $50 billion in taxpayer funds for historically black colleges and universities, known as HBCUs. And she wants to “prohibit public colleges from considering citizenship status” when making admissions decisions.

In addition, Warren wants to phase out federal money that now goes to for-profit schools. “After an appropriate transition period, ban for-profit colleges from receiving any federal dollars (including military benefits and federal student loans), so they can no longer use taxpayer dollars to enrich themselves while targeting lower-income students, servicemembers, and students of color and leaving them saddled with debt,” she wrote.

Student loan debt has more than doubled over the last 10 years to $1.5 trillion, and some economic experts say that is driving the declining home ownership rates among young adults.

This content was originally published here.