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US Gross National Debt Screams Higher by $1 Trillion in 5.5 Months

Wolf Street  ( Original )
FEB 26, 2018

The “debt ceiling” farce has become such pathetic off-off-Broadway theater that if you used it as a dystopian novel plot device, nobody would find it remotely believable. Who would believe that anyone would put any faith in a government that regularly engages in this absurdist financial Kabuki theater, now spiraling wildly out of control?

Congress served up another debt ceiling – a regular charade lawmakers undertake to extort deals from each other, beat the White House into submission, and keep the rest of the world on their toes. It goes like this: First they pass the spending bills, directing the Administration to spend specific amounts of money on a gazillion specific things spread around specific districts. Then they block the means to pay the credit card bill.

That debt ceiling was suspended on February 8, at which point the gross national debt began to surge again, adding $1 trillion ($960.4 billion rounded to the nearest 100 million), a 5% jump in the gross national debt in just 5.5 months:

The debt ceiling is like playing toss with a loaded gun: The gun will normally not go off because almost everyone is trying very hard to catch the gun without pulling the trigger. And historically speaking, it hasn’t gone off yet, and everyone hopes that it will never go off.

It’s dramatic, and sound bites from those playing toss permeate the media, but what it really does is distract from the consequences of the fiscal policies that these same people are hammering out in Congress. Those consequences are best summed up over time in the gross national debt.

The trillions fly by so fast these days, we can’t even see them anymore. And afterwards we wonder: What was that? Where did it go?

ORIGINAL SOURCE: US Gross National Debt Spikes $1 Trillion in Less Than 6 Months by Wolf Richter at Wolf Street on 2/24/18