National debt (% of GDP)
National debt (% of GDP)
The financial crisis of 2008 spurred a big chunk of spending increases and tax cuts to stem the pain of the downturn. That's a key reason why debt held by the public -- individual bondholders, big investors, and foreign governments -- has increased significantly since 2008. That jump will have to be paid off with interest.

Much of those emergency measures will end, so for the next decade annual deficits should be much lower than they've been recently. But over the long run, debt is still projected to grow faster than the economy. Policymakers will have to address it soon, or risk not being able to fund everything Americans expect their government to do.

@CNNMoney - Last updated January 18 2013: 5:12 PM ET
Most Popular

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.