Total U.S. Debt Is About to Surpass Total G.D.P. on Halloween

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For the first time since World War II, the United States will surpass the 100 percent debt-to-GDP line. Over at Zero Hedge, they found "The Scariest Chart Ever" in which the IMF expected U.S. debt per capita to exceed GDP per capita this year. They did some number crunching of their own to give us a better timeline of when this scary budget fact will come to pass. As their chart shows, it's in the next two weeks. Zero Hedge's Tyler Durden explains a chart they made:

We decided to dig into the actual numbers (cancelling out the per capital denominator as it is the same on both sides of the equation) and came to a very disturbing revelation: as of today, total US Debt, is $14.942 trillion (source), obviously an all time high. Q2 GDP as was reported by the BEA three weeks ago, was $15.012 trillion in current dollars. In other words, the spread between total GDP and total debt has now collapsed to an all time low $70 billion. Incidentally, this number was $1.8 trillion at the beginning of 2010. Then we decided to take a quick look at the upcoming bond issuance and find that tomorrow the Treasury will announce approximately $99 billion in 2, 5 and 7 Year bonds to be auctioned off October 25 through 27... With a very appropriate settlement date: October 31, elsewhere known as Halloween. Yes, ladies and gentlemen: All Hallows E'en will be doubly scary this year: for the first time since World War II, US debt will officially surpass GDP on Halloween 2011.
Michael Pascoe at the Sydney Morning Herald adds a horrifying tidbit to put our GDP woes into context: "But it was a throw-away line I had already been vaguely aware of that switched on this particular light bulb: net new debt, the US has not grown its GDP since 1999."  

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.