Federal debt tops $15 trillion

According to the Treasury Department, the federal debt now tops $15 trillion. Earlier this year Congress raised the debt ceiling, making way for the new record figure and under the new deal, government can only sustain a total debt of $15.194 trillion.

By Stephen Dinan
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The Washington Times

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that federal debt now tops $15 trillion — a staggering figure that has risen precipitously over the last decade.

The exact debt total stood at $15.034 trillion as of the end of business Tuesday, an increase of $56 billion over Monday’s tally.

All told, federal debt has risen $4.41 trillion since President Obama took office, and is nearly triple the size of the debt in 2001, when President George W. Bush landed in the White House.

Congress earlier this year raised the debt ceiling, which cleared the way for Wednesday’s new record figure, but tasked a special committee with finding ways to at least slow the staggering pace of growth.

Under this summer’s debt deal, the government can only sustain a total debt of $15.194 trillion.

At it stands now, debt is now nearly equal to the projected U.S. gross domestic product for 2011, which the Obama administration said in its February budget would reach $15.079 trillion.

The government’s debt figure is made up of two different calculations: debt held by the public, which reached $10.314 trillion, and intragovernmental holdings, which accounts for money the government borrows from places like the the Social Security Trust Fund, which stood at $4.719 trillion.

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