What are the economic consequences of a rising federal deficit and national debt?

For fiscal year 2020, the U.S. federal deficit was $3.1 trillion, more than TRIPLE the deficit of 2019, and the national debt grew by more than $4 trillion to $27 trillion. A majority of the increases were a result of the economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the responding legislation that was enacted. (You can find real-time numbers for the deficit, debt, and much more at www.usdebtclock.org .)

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects federal deficits as a percentage of GDP to decline through 2027 before increasing again from 2028-2030. In 2020, federal debt held by the public was 98% of GDP, with the CBO projecting that to rise to 109% by 2030, the highest in the nation’s history.

· What is the difference between the federal deficit and the national debt, and how are the two related?

· What are the economic consequences of a rising federal deficit and national debt?

· Should we be concerned about the sizes (and projected increases) of the deficit and debt? Why or why not?

· Who exactly do we owe this money to (be specific!), and does this make a difference in terms of our level of concern?

· What can the government do to reduce the deficit numbers? Be specific, explaining how the numbers would be reduced, and if the government actually should use these methods of deficit reduction.

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