America’s bills are about to exceed its paycheck.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows U.S. government debt divided among every man, woman and child will exceed per-capita gross domestic product this year for the first time in International Monetary Fund records dating back to 1980.
The amount owed will reach $46,771 per person, surpassing the $46,750 in output, according to Bloomberg calculations using the IMF’s deficit and growth projections from its September World Economic Outlook. Debt will exceed production by $8,000 per person by 2016, reversing GDP’s $18,400 advantage as recently as 2007, before the world’s largest economy fell into the recession and government spending surged.
“It’s a milestone in an unsustainable trend,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, an Arlington, Virginia-based group that calls for a balanced budget. “What’s alarming is there is no end in sight.”
The U.S. government last week posted its third consecutive annual budget deficit in excess of $1 trillion for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. A congressional committee has been tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in savings over the next decade under the terms of an August agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling.
“It just doesn’t seem like the political system or the public really has come to the point where they are ready to make some basic compromises,” Bixby said. “People lament the debt, but so far we have no realistic strategies for dealing with it.”