How the U.S. National Debt Affects You

Paying THEIR Dues

For the first time in U.S. history, the national debt has risen past $17 trillion. That number is a bit hard to comprehend and means little to Americans when not applied to their everyday lives. So just how does the national debt affect consumers, and why should the average American care about how much this country owes?

It Just Keeps Going and Going and Going

$17.3 trillion
Current national debt in the U.S.
That's $53,433 per American.
$12.7 trillion
Amount added to the national debt in the past decade

Understanding the National Debt

The national debt is money the federal government owes to various sources.
National debt owed to the public, businesses and foreign governments that bought investments in the U.S.
The rest of the national debt is actually what the U.S. federal government owes itself, as loans for things like Social Security and other trusts.
Current U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio
How do we compare? Here's a look at the countries with the highest ratios:
Zimbabwe 244.2%
Japan 219.1%
Greece 156.9%
Saint Kitts and Nevis 144%
Jamaica 132.9%
Iceland 131.8%
Italy 126.9%
Eritrea 125.8%
Portugal 123.6%
Lebanon 119.6%
Ireland 117.6%
Singapore 111.4%
Grenada 110%
Sudan 101.7%
Belgium 99.6%
Puerto Rico 93.2%
France 90.3%
Antigua and Barbuda 89.00%
United Kingdom 88.7%
Egypt 88%
Cabo Verde 86.2%
Cyprus 85.8%
Barbados 85.6%
Canada 85.4%
Belize 84.6%
Spain 84.1%
Germany 81%
Hungary 79.3%
Sri Lanka 79.1%
Saint Lucia 77%
Austria 75.7%
Jordan 75.5%
Sao Tome and Principe 75.5%
Malta 71.3%
Morocco 71.2%
United States 70%
Israel 66.9%
Burundi 50.3%

What Consumers Will See

Here is how the national debt is affecting Americans today.
Rising interest rates
The higher the consumer debt and interest rates on credit cards and loans, the more foreign investments the country receives. This is bad for you, but good for the federal government.
Weak job markets
High national debt means little economic growth. Unfortunately, this also means fewer jobs are created through government spending on projects like road construction and small business loans.
Higher taxes
When the government can't make revenue through typical means to pay off the debt, it will turn to raising taxes for consumers and property owners.