Don’t look now, members of the “supercommittee” battling the national debt, but the amount the U.S. owes topped the $15 trillion mark Wednesday afternoon.
That’s a lot of George Washingtons, as you can see here live at USdebtclock.org.
With a week until the committee’s deadline to reach agreement on cutting $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 10 years, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction still has no agreement to stem automatic cuts to the budget.
A Democrat on a special deficit-cutting supercommittee Wednesday questioned whether Republicans are still interested in negotiating after the panel’s top GOP member said Republicans have “gone as far as we feel we can go” on tax hikes, the Associated Press reported.
A sense of deep pessimism has gripped the supercommittee, and judging from the limited public statement by panel members, a debt bargain could be out of reach.
“We need to find out whether our Republican colleagues want to continue to negotiate or whether they’ve drawn a hard line in the sand,” said supercommittee member Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland. “The question is whether they’ve kind of said ‘take it or leave it.’ ”
The deficit has ballooned to nearly $48,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. This year alone, the U.S. will spend $1.3 trillion more than it takes in.
The debt has expanded at an alarming pace, from $7.5 trillion in 2004 and $5.6 trillion in 2000. At the current rate, Debtclock.org reckons that the debt will top $23 trillion in 2015, though the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office puts the estimate at $17.6 trillion.
Back in August after a protracted fight, Congress voted to raised the national-debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion to $17 trillion, while requiring $2.7 trillion in deficit reduction by 2021.
Compared with other developed nations, the U.S. has a debt to GDP ratio of 85 percent, compared with Germany at 74 percent and Japan at a whopping 194 percent. World debt clocks can be found here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.