THE US debt will top $13.6 trillion this year and climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015, according to a Treasury Department report to Congress.
The report that was sent to lawmakers with no fanfare said the ratio of debt to the gross domestic product would rise to 102 per cent by 2015 from 93 per cent this year.
“The President’s economic experts say one per cent increase in GDP can create almost one million jobs, and that one per cent is what experts think we are losing because of the debt’s massive drag on our economy,” said Republican Representative Dave Camp, who publicised the report.
He was referring to recent testimony by University of Maryland Professor Carmen Reinhart to the bipartisan fiscal commission, which was created by President Barack Obama to recommend ways to reduce the deficit, which said debt topping 90 per cent of GDP could slow economic growth.
The US debt has grown rapidly with the economic downturn and government spending for the Wall Street bailout, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the economic stimulus.
The rising debt is contributing to voter unrest ahead of the November congressional elections in which Republicans hope to regain control of Congress.
The total US debt includes obligations to the Social Security retirement program and other government trust funds.
The amount of debt held by investors, which include China and other countries as well as individuals and pension funds, will rise to an estimated $9.1 trillion this year from $7.5 trillion last year.
By 2015 the net public debt will rise to an estimated $14 trillion, with a ratio to GDP of 73 per cent, the Treasury report said.