U.S. Debt Approaching $20 Trillion

The election of Donald Trump to the presidency has brought a surge to the stock market, coined by some as the "Trump Bump."  With the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently surpassing the 20,000 mark for the first time ever and even flirting with 21,000, there's another area of the economy that still needs attention---the national debt.  The U.S. debt is ticking toward a milestone of its own, but not one worth celebrating---the $20 trillion dollar mark.

As of Wednesday, the U.S. debt was at $19.5 trillion and growing by an average of over $13 million per hour, according to usdebtclock.org.  At the current rate, the debt is on pace to hit the $20 trillion mark by the middle of 2018.

While passing $20 trillion won't have any special impact by itself, the overall growing debt load does have real consequences.  "With interest rates going up the cost of the debt service for the government is going to go up, and that's going to really squeeze their ability to provide for national defense, health, education and many other things we look to the government to do for us," says Ray Perryman, economist with the Texas-based Perryman Group.

Perryman says the only real remedy to bring down the national debt is for Congress to finally get serious about entitlement reform.  "Well over 60 cents of every dollar that's spent by the federal government is spent on entitlements," he tells KTRH. "There are a lot of structural things in our entitlement programs that we could gradually fix over generations, that would really bring the situation in line and make people better off...but it's just very, very difficult to get Congress to look past about a year or two."

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