National Debt: Do Rising Annual Deficits Threaten the U.S. Economy?

Published Sep 1, 2017. By Matthew K. Benjamin.

The clock is ticking, so-called budget hawks warn about the nation's growing national debt: Public debt has soared from $925 billion in 1982 to almost $14.4 trillion in 2017. 

The founders of the Concord Coalition joked in 1992, the Washington advocacy organization's first year, that “putting ourselves out of business was the original goal,” recalls Executive Director Bob Bixby.


But before the group could close up shop, the federal government would have to balance its budgets and put the national debt on a fiscally sustainable course. Twenty-five years later, Bixby and his staff are still employed, and business is booming.

“I thought things were bad in 1992,” says Bixby. “But it's a lot worse now. The political establishment has wasted a lot of time and opportunities to address this.”