Rising debt will hurt our economic prospects and our ability to invest in the future.

What does the national debt have to do with your wallet? Quite a bit, actually.

An increasing national debt could cause an increase in the cost of borrowing for everyone, making mortgages and private business loans more expensive for individuals – making it harder for Americans to buy a home and find a good-paying job.

According to calculations based on data from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the current trajectory of the federal debt will reduce a four-person family’s income by an average of $2,000 in 2027, rising to $8,000 in 2037 and $16,000 in 2047. That’s money that won’t be spent in the economy, or invested for vital priorities like education and retirement.

Bar graph connecting federal debt to family income


National Debt and Interest Costs

A soaring national debt will crowd out crucial investments in priorities like health, education, infrastructure, and innovation.

Bar graph showing the U.S.'s projected net interest costs until 2049
By 2047, interest costs are projected to be more than two times what the federal government has spent on R&D, infrastructure, and education combined

In just over a decade, interest costs will become the third-largest category in the federal budget, trailing Social Security and Medicare. And by 2047, interest costs will more than double what the government has typically spent on research and development, infrastructure, and education combined.

Who gets paid the interest on the national debt, anyway?

Debt held by the public, which excludes any debt owed to other U.S. government agencies, is money the U.S. Treasury has borrowed from outside lenders through financial markets. The interest on this debt is paid to individuals, businesses, pension and mutual funds, state and local governments, and foreign entities. Debt held by the public at the end of the 2019 fiscal year was $16.8 trillion - about 40% of this debt is held by foreign creditors.

Line graph depicting federal debt trends with current policies

So, what can you do?

It’s not complicated: Whether you’re passionate about healthcare, higher education, clean energy technology, or national defense, you have a vested interest in making sure we get our fiscal policy on a sustainable path.

Young people across America are getting educated about fiscal policy and making changes at their colleges and universities with Up to Us. Sign the pledge to let local representatives know that you are concerned about the nation’s fiscal future, or get involved by learning about how you can make a difference in your own community. 


Raise your voice.

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