BY CHLOE FOLMAR
The U.S. national debt topped $30 trillion Tuesday, the highest it’s ever been, according to Treasury Department data.
National debt grew significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing by $7 trillion since the end of 2019.
Almost $8 trillion of the total $30 trillion in national debt is owed to foreign investors, with Japan and China the top creditors, which must be repaid with interest.
“That means American taxpayers will be paying for the retirement of the people in China and Japan, who are our creditors,” David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, explained to CNN Business.
More than $6 trillion of the national debt is owed by the U.S. government to itself through government trust funds.
Debt has skyrocketed in past decades, beginning with the Great Recession of 2008 and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The national debt was $9.2 trillion in December 2007, before the financial crisis of 2008.
“Hitting the $30 trillion mark is clearly an important milestone in our dangerous fiscal trajectory,” Michael Peterson, head of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, told The New York Times.
“For many years before Covid, America had an unsustainable structural fiscal path because the programs we’ve designed are not sufficiently funded by the revenue we take in,” he added.