A Case Study on America's Rising Debt and its GDP

Pratyusha Srivastava Pratyusha Srivastava
Jul 4, 2021 6 min read
A Case Study on America's Rising Debt and its GDP

The debt of the United States is the national debt that is controlled and acquired by the federal government of the U.S. to the Treasury security holders. According to the report by March 2021, the United States debt crossed over $28 trillion. This came to be so high that this was more than the economic production of the US calculated annually.

With the history of so many years, US debt has been increased by the slump that lowered the tax revenue. However, the Congress government has spent a lot more than this to facilitate the economy over time.

Besides, other services such as the Military have proven to be one of the biggest contributors who have been used for the benefits of medical care and others. And with the world pandemic in  2020-21, the spendings on the counterbalance of the situation has added more to the debt. But the good thing is, all this will be resolved once the pandemic ends.

Till then, other methods such as increasing taxes and a tight budget could help in reducing the debt. And this wide combination of budget growth, tax cutoff and recessions have brought the national debt-to-GDP ratio to a record level. But when there is a problem, to solve it, we have to face some consequences. And so the United States government would have to face the economic consequences.

In this article, we will discuss a case study on the U.S. debt and its GDP. Let's get started.

United States National debt about GDP
United States Finances
The ratio of debt to GDP
United States Debt History
America's debt vs GDP

United States National debt about GDP

The relation of the gross domestic production (GDP) with the national debt of the US has been rising since 2016. And the estimated data shows this would continue till 2026. The graph from 2016 to 2019 has been pretty high in the projection. By the record of 2019, the United States national debt was estimated to be around 108.19% of the GDP.

Total Public Debt as Percent of GDP
Total Public Debt as Percent of GDP

United States Finances

The national debt of the United States has had several ups and downs but since the 90s the graph has kept rising. And so as the public debt, which is known as the total money borrowed by the nation to facilitate and cover up the budget deficits. However, the monthly records of debt have been quite stable.

Even after the recession of 2008, the national debt of the United States has proven to be pretty steady and progressive. And the estimations have shown, it will keep rising in the upcoming years. Although the budget cuts and the lower employment opportunities have hurt the American economy, which is still recovering from such a crisis. Therefore, the national debt of the US, as well as the national debt of US per capita, has quadrupled since the last 1990s.

Besides the excessive progress, the national debt of the United States is still not counted among the top 10 highest national debt countries with relation to its GDP. However, countries such as Italy, Japan and Greece have far more figures than the US.

The ratio of debt to GDP

The Debt-to-GDP ratio of a country is calculated as the ratio between the country’s national debt and its Gross Domestic Production (GDP). This ratio measures the country’s currency and is calculated every year. When the Debt-to-GDP ratio comes low that shows that the country is sufficient enough for producing and selling different goods and services and it does not require any further debt for this purpose.

Moreover, many other factors such as wars, interest rates and recessions also affect the debt acquiring and borrowing rates and its choice to incur more debt. However, the countries with the high Debt-to-GDP ratio face different crisis and its recovery takes time. The Debt-to-GDP ratio impacts the country’s economic situation.

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United States Debt History

Soon after the revolutionary war of 1790, the united state government initiated its footsteps towards the debt. And after the 1790s, the debt has acted as the major help in times of war or economic recession for the U.S. government over centuries.

However in the period of deflation which is known for decreasing the debt size. But, actually, the real worth of debt is enhanced during this period. In the deflationary period, the money value is heightened while the access to loads of money becomes tougher.

According to the record of 2020, estimated by three Congressional Budget Office, the public debt was equal to 98.2% of the GDP. Later, it reached up to 99.4% and 105%. This was the peak of the debt-to-GDP percentage since 1946. In the 1970s, the debt faced several periods, and it stood stable.

But, from the beginning of the 1980s, the debt rose drastically. This was seen till the early 1990s, When the U.S. was under the presidency of Reagan and Bush. However, the ratio came down to 30.9% in 2001. But under the presidency of George W. Bush, it rose again.

Later, the U.S. faced several financial crisis and suffered the Great Depression period as well. This brought a major uprise in the debt percentage and during the presidency of Obama, the debt rose to 75.9% of GDP in 2008 and then, in his second term in 2016, it raised 73.3%.

America's debt vs GDP

When a country's debt is estimated it comes incredibly high. And in a country such as America, the value is quite large. However when the national debt is compared with the annual GDP, then only the financial deficits of a country could be measured.

The American debt went stable till 2007, but a drastic change was seen during the global financial crisis period. During this time in 2012, the debt rose to 95% of the GDP. After this, the debt kept on rising. And, during the pandemic of 2020 and 2022, the GDP percentage crossed over 100%.

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The United States has faced such an economic situation before also in the 1970s. And, now with the debt of over $27 trillion which includes some mandatory spendings such as health care which requires around $2.7 trillion. The total revenue's 50% comes from the income taxes of an individual.  

The pandemic has made things more delicate and tough and until it is completely over, the economic crisis will continue along with the rising debt-to-GDP ratio. Well, in this article, we briefly discussed the American debt and its cooperation with the GDP.


What is the current debt of United States?

The current U.S. debt is $23.3 trillions as of 2020.

Which country has no debt?

Brunei is one of the countries with the lowest debt. It has a debt to GDP ratio of 2.46 percent among a population of 439,000 people.

How much is the world in debt 2020?

The global debt total is at all-time high of $281 trillion by the end of 2020.

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