Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt

Red Ink Rising: A Call to Action to Stem the Mounting Federal Debt

Over the past year alone, the public debt of the United States rose sharply from 41 to 53 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Under reasonable assumptions, the debt is projected to grow steadily, reaching 85 percent of GDP by 2018, 100 percent by 2022, and 200 percent in 2038.

However, before the debt reached such high levels, the United States would almost certainly experience a debt-driven crisis—something previously viewed as almost unfathomable in the world's largest economy. The crisis could unfold gradually or it could happen suddenly, but with great costs either way. The tipping point is impossible to predict, but the United States is already hearing concerns about its fiscal management from some of its largest creditors, and the country is uncomfortably vulnerable to shifts in confidence around the world.

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Agenda for America

A collection of resources to help federal, state, and local decision-makers set an achievable agenda for all Americans

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.