WASHINGTON (AP) — The national debt has passed a new milestone, topping $22 trillion for the first time.
The Treasury Department's daily statement showed Tuesday that total outstanding public debt stands at $22.01 trillion. It stood at $19.95 trillion when President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017.
The debt figure has been accelerating since the passage of Trump's $1.5 trillion tax cut in December 2017 and action by Congress last year to increase spending on domestic and military programs.
The national debt is the total of the annual budget deficits. The Congressional Budget Office projects that this year's deficit will be $897 billion — a 15.1 percent increase over last year's imbalance of $779 billion. In the coming years, the CBO forecasts that the deficit will keep rising, top $1 trillion annually beginning in 2022 and never drop below $1 trillion through 2029. Much of the increase will come from mounting costs to fund Social Security and Medicare as the vast generation of baby boomers continue to retire.
The Trump administration contends that its tax cuts will eventually pay for themselves by generating faster economic growth. That projection is disputed by many economists.