9 Trillion Dollars. That’s Your Debt. Ugh.

Sep 23, 2008 6:04pm

How much does America owe?  How much WILL America owe after (or rather, if) it bails out Wall Street?  The Associated Press reports some say an additional $700 billion is a "drop in the bucket" when you consider the nation’s existing $9 trillion dollar debt:

Fom the AP:  "The Bush administration plan to shore up banks rattled by the meltdown of the housing market and clenched-up credit markets would raise the federal debt to an all-time high of more than $11 trillion.

Details are still being worked out in Congress, but the proposal would lift the legal limit for government borrowing to $11.3 trillion, $700 billion higher than what it is now and twice what it was a decade ago.

Economists warn ballooning the federal debt could weaken the U.S. dollar, raise interest rates, weaken the already faltering economy and ultimately lead to higher taxes.

Still, compared with the existing $9.5 trillion debt, "another $700 billion is not enormous," said William Cline, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, writing on the institute’s Web site.

The national debt is the accumulated total of each year’s deficit — the difference between what the government gets in taxes and what it spends. The debt has grown this decade because of borrowing to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

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