What the heck? U.S. Public Debt up $518 billion in November alone: U.S. debt ceiling made of toilet paper.

You might remember that back in March, we hit our debt ceiling limit.  The amount registering on the U.S. Treasury Department website was stuck at roughly $18.15 trillion.  Of course given our addiction to spending and debt, we simply charged all new spending off the books.  We as a country have a deeply rooted addiction to debt.  The government was using “extraordinary measures” to circumvent the debt ceiling even though we are supposedly in a big recovery.  Eventually late in October, The Treasury decided to unwind this accounting mess and added the debt to “the books” for all to see.  The public is currently overwhelmed with worldly events and the reality TV based election year.  So in one day alone on November 2, total public debt soared by $340 billion.  As a comparison, the GDP of Greece is roughly $242 billion for an entire year.  In fact, since the start of November total public debt has increased by a mind blowing half a trillion dollars.

Debt ceiling is an Orwellian phrase

Using the phrase “debt ceiling” is largely meaningless because you would assume that a ceiling implies a cap.  We clearly do not operate under that kind of system.  We are spending massively beyond our means.  Imagine you have a $2,000 credit card and max it out.  And then suddenly, instead of paying that down, you get another $2,000 credit card and max that one out.  Continue that on into infinity and that seems to be our approach.

Just think of how crazy it is to suddenly bring onto the books $340 billion in debt in one day!  Since the start of the month, total public debt is up $518 billion:

national debt

Source:  US Treasury

You’ll notice that the figures were roughly stuck around the $18.15 trillion mark for all of October (and since March).  Suddenly there was some very fast accounting to bring the figures up to speed and to rectify the extraordinary measures.

It might be worth noting that we’ve added $13 trillion of federal public debt since 2000 alone:


That is an increase of 230% in a matter of 15 years alone.  That is a gigantic increase but this is symptomatic at the household level as well.  Mortgage debt is growing once again.  We have over $1.3 trillion in student debt outstanding.  There is now a trillion dollars outstanding in auto debt and a good portion of that is subprime auto debt.

It would be useful to remember in what caused the Great Recession was a deep seated credit crisis.  As in too much debt floating out in the system.  Yet here we are setting new records in total debt outstanding and busting through debt ceilings as if they were constructed out of toilet paper.

And this isn’t the first time we’ve busted through the debt ceiling:


Keep the above chart in mind as you hear both parties talking about how responsible they are.  In the end, half of Congress is made up of millionaires and at the end of the day, the members of both parties have more in common with each other than they do with the regular American family.  Debt ceiling?  More like the sky is the limit for debt based spending.

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1 Comments on this post


  1. Opiner said:

    There are a lot of discussions these days concerning the upcoming presidential elections next year. Discussions include: the Economy, Government Regulations, Gun Control, Immigration, Taxes, Entitlement Programs, Abortion, Health Care, Budget, National Debt, Crime, Education, Free Trade, etc… Whether Democrat or Republican originated, and where it concerns the issues above, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

    First, the President doesn’t have that much power. Among the things they can do: They appoint Cabinet Members for the Executive Departments (Agriculture, Defense, Education, Energy, etc…). They appoint heads of Federal Offices. They are the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and make decisions concerning military actions. They appoint Supreme Court members if a position becomes available. They issue Executive Orders for Federal Rules and Regulations usually in emergency situations or in the last years of their presidency. They have persuasive influence over public opinion on actions that Congress (House and Senate) may vote on. They have the power to pardon and give amnesty to individuals or groups. They can call up the National Guard in disasters.

    Second, It’s Congress – the House of Representative and Senators that have the power to make changes in our laws and regulations. They are the ones to propose and pass bills that change the things listed above in the 1st paragraph. The President can veto proposed issues that come up to him, but, Congress can vote to override and pass those anyway if desired.

    Third, the Republicans have had control of the Senate since Nov 2014 and the House since Nov 2010. They probably will have control of Congress until 2022. Republicans also have the majority control of the State Legislatures and Governorships.

    My question is… Where’s the reduction in spending, National Debt, abortions, less gun control, government regulations, lower taxes, etc…? Shouldn’t they be legislating laws to sway those things listed in the 1st paragraph?

    As a disclaimer, I am neither Democrat nor Republican (I used to be a registered Republican). I’m just trying to make a point. Political promises are just banter.

    November 19th, 2015 at 9:00 am


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