The tenor of much recent coverage is that the federal debt is a fading problem, even though by any objective measure it is a serious one in the process of getting rapidly worse.
That the federal debt situation is worsening is easily seen by looking (see Figure 1) at the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Throughout the whole time CBO has made estimates, federal debt held by the public never exceeded 50% of GDP until 2009 when it began to rise dramatically, eventually reaching roughly 75% of GDP this year. CBO now projects that we will continue to accumulate debt at unsustainable rates, exceeding 85% of GDP by 2026 and continuing to grow to eventually exceed our entire domestic economic output. Viewed objectively, our debt situation has grown much worse in recent years and is projected to grow still worse in the future.