National Debt Sees Record Increase, Spikes by $339.1 Billion

On Tuesday, the United States national debt shattered its previous records for largest debt increase in 24 hours, rising by $339.1 billion.

Well, sort of.

The “sudden” increase didn’t actually happen overnight. While the national debt appeared frozen at $18.1 trillion, it was all just an accounting gimmick.

In other words, a debt ceiling didn’t mean that the spending stopped; the government was, in fact, still accruing debt, and the sudden “jump” in our national debt is simply a reflection of spending that’s been occurring for months. Bloomberg explains:

At least one thing is clear about the debt ceiling: It hasn’t restrained the federal debt. That’s in the hands of Congress when it sets levels of taxation and spending, then borrows money when it overspends. Raising the debt ceiling simply lets the government pay for things it has already decided to buy. […] Debt-limit supporters say opponents overstate the potential harm and that using it to bargain for spending cuts serves the public interest at a time of historically high debt levels.

President Obama approved a suspension of the debt limit on Monday. Failure to raise the ceiling would have meant a government default on all of the financial commitments it had already made.

If we don’t want to see more overnight “increases” like this in the future, lawmakers shouldn’t be arguing over terms and accounting gimmicks—they need to fix the problem and stop the spending altogether.

What’s going to happen to us if the debt keeps skyrocketing? You can find out the details here.