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The Hill: You Owe More Than $500,000 - and Counting

December 15, 2021
National Debt

Article by Merrill Matthews in The Hill

There’s a lot of back and forth about how much the Democrats’ Build Back Better bill would add to the federal debt. So let’s take a quick look at the current federal debt, plus the government’s “unfunded liabilities,” to see how much each of us owes to cover Washington’s debt and long-term obligations. 

The short answer is $572,000. That’s NOT how much each household or adult taxpayer owes, but each man, woman and child in America — so nearly $2.28 million for a family of four. 

You can make your check payable to the U.S. Treasury.

Or you can learn about the debt problem and support policies that attempt to contain it – and maybe someday reverse the trend – which means opposing Democrats’ spending spree. 

Let’s start with the federal debt. The U.S. Debt Clock puts federal debt at $29 trillion. That’s money that we, as taxpayers, will have to pay at some point in the future — since all government debt is ultimately a claim that must be paid by taxpayers.

The National Debt Clock says that “debt per citizen” is currently $87,124. But there’s more, much more.

That $29 trillion ignores Social Security and Medicare’s current and future obligations. Fortunately, the trustees who oversee those two programs annually estimate how much that is.

Long term, Social Security owes beneficiaries a lot more money than it’s projected to receive from the payroll taxes that fund it. Those future obligations are referred to as unfunded liabilities.

The trustees estimate Social Security’s unfunded liability over both 75 years and what’s known as the “infinite horizon.” The unfunded liability over the infinite horizon is $59.8 trillion.

The trustees also estimate Medicare’s unfunded liability over the infinite horizon to be $103.4 trillion. If we combine Social Security and Medicare’s unfunded liabilities, we get $163.2 trillion.

Since taxpayers will ultimately be responsible for both the $29 trillion federal debt and $163 trillion Social Security and Medicare unfunded liabilities, the present value of those two combined is about $572,000 for every man, woman and child in America — all 330 million of them.

Now, Build Back Better will add to that debt. How much? According to a new and more realistic estimate by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), about .......

To read this article in The Hill in its entirety, click here.

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