(CNSNews.com) – The federal government’s debt could hit an unprecedented $16 trillion this week while the Republican Party is holding its national convention in Tampa, Fla.
On Monday afternoon, at the opening of the convention. the Republicans will try to draw attention to the mounting debt by unveiling a debt clock in the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention will be held.
At an event in Waterloo, Iowa, earlier this month President Obama highlighted his own efforts to deal with the debt.
“I’ll make sure government does its part to reduce our debt and our deficits,” the president said. “We’ve cut out already a trillion dollars’ worth of spending we don’t need. And we can do more. I want to make government efficient. We’ve got to make sure that your tax dollars are being well spent. But we can’t bring down our deficit and our debt just by asking us to get rid of things that open up opportunity to Americans.
“So instead,” said Obama, “we’re asking folks like me to go back to the rates we paid under Bill Clinton–which, by the way, was a time when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus, and we created a whole lot of millionaires to boot.”
At the close of business on Thursday, Aug. 23, according to the U.S. Treasury, the federal government’s debt stood at $15,976,519,029,144.14. That left it $23,480,970,855.86 short of the $16 trillion mark.
So far in this fiscal year (from Oct. 1 through Aug. 23), the debt has grown by an average of $3,616,398,477.40 per calendar day ($1,186,178,700,586.99 divided by 328 days). Were the debt to grow at that pace in the week following last Thursday’s close of $15.976 trillion, it would hit $16 trillion this Thursday–the day Mitt Romney is scheduled to give his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination.
However, the debt does not grow in a steady, unbroken daily pace. Instead, it expands and retracts from day to day during the business week depending on the value of the bonds the U.S. Treasury sells and redeems. On a day that the Treasury derives more revenue from selling bonds than it pays out to redeem bonds, the debt increases.
Last Wednesday, for example, the debt actually declined by almost $9.7 billion–from $15,970,134,937,605.00 to $15,960,468,522,111.20—as the Treasury redeemed bonds of greater value than it sold. However, on Thursday, the debt increased by slightly more than $16 billion, ending that day at $15,976,519,029,144.14.
Also, the Treasury does not report the value of the debt reached at the close of any business day until 4:00 pm on the following business day. For example, the value of the government’s debt as of the close of business on Friday will not be officially reported by the Treasury until 4:00 pm on Monday—and the value of the debt as of the close of business this Thursday will not be reported until 4:00 pm this Friday.
Since Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the debt has increased $5,349,641,980,231.06. That is as much as the entire debt accumulated by the United States from the founding of the country in 1776 until Feb. 28, 1997, when President Bill Clinton was in his second term.
Thus, under Obama, the debt has increased more than under all presidents from George Washington through George H.W. Bush combined.
During President George W. Bush’s two terms in office, the debt increased $4,899,100,310,608.44. That is also more than all the debt accumulated by all previous presidents from George Washington through George H.W. Bush combined.
Nonetheless, the $5,349,641,980,231.06 in new debt accumulated in less than four years under Obama is more than the $4,899,100,310,608.44 in new debt accumulated in eight full years under George W. Bush.
According to data reported by the IRS earlier this year, there were 81,890,189 tax returns filed for 2009 that showed taxable income. That means the total debt of the United States now equals $195,096.86 for each 2009 federal taxpayer.
The $5,349,641,980,231.06 in new debt accumulated just during Obama’s time in office equals about $65,327 per taxpayer.
The Republicans won a majority in the House of Representatives in the November 2010 election. However, the Republican-controlled House did not gain a veto over federal spending until March 4, 2011, when a continuing resolution passed by a lame-duck Congress in December 2010 expired. Since March 4, 2011, the government has been funded by a series of spending deals made between House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama.
Since the first Boehner-Obama spending deal, which took effect on March 4, 2011, the debt has increased by $1,793,891,844,263.11. That equals about $21,906.07 per taxpayer.
President Obama proposed a fiscal 2013 budget that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, called for $6.39 trillion in deficit spending in the ten years from fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2022. During those ten years, according to CBO’s analysis, the annual deficit would never drop below $488 billion, a level it would hit in 2017. Under Obama’s budget proposal, according to CBO, annual deficits would start to grow again after 2017, hitting $510 billion in 2018, $602 billion in 2019, $638 billion in 2020, $678 billion in 2021, and $728 billion in 2022.
In fiscal 2008, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the federal government spent $2.982 trillion. In fiscal 2012, it will spend an estimated $3.795 trillion.