U.S. government federal debt has breached an unflattering milestone, topping $34 trillion for the first time in history and amounting to more than double the total of the world’s next-biggest borrower, China.

The U.S. Treasury Department disclosed the new debt total on Tuesday, saying it exceeded the $34 trillion mark by nearly $1.5 billion as of December 29, the last business day of 2023. The amount owed had increased by $90 billion since just the previous day.

About $102,000 For Every U.S. Man, Woman Child

Washington’s public debt now amounts to about $102,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S., or nearly $260,000 per household. The total U.S. federal debt is roughly equivalent to the economies of China, Germany, Japan, India and the UK combined, as pointed out by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan fiscal policy group in New York.

Damaging And Unsustainable Path

“We are beginning a new year, but our national debt remains on the same damaging and unsustainable path,” foundation CEO Michael Peterson said. He added, “Adding trillion after trillion in debt, year after year, should be a flashing warning sign to any policymaker who cares about the future of our country.”

By comparison, China owed around $14 trillion in government debt as of last year, according to an IMF estimate. U.S. government debt is approximately equal to the combined totals for the world’s next five biggest borrowers – China, Japan, the UK, France and Italy. U.S. debt as a percentage of GDP is over 123%, compared with China’s 83%. Japan has the largest debt burden relative to GDP, at 255%.

The amount the U.S. government owes lenders has increased by $6.25 trillion, or 23%, since President Joe Biden took office three years ago. To put that in perspective, it took about 225 years from the nation’s founding to approach $6 trillion in public debt. The growth in debt has accelerated rapidly in the past two decades. It jumped by more than $9 trillion during Barack Obama’s eight years as president, then increased by $7.8 trillion during Donald Trump’s four-year term.

Interest Costs

Interest costs on the U.S. debt rose to $659 billion in the government’s last fiscal year, about double the entire federal budget of Russia. Interest payments will total an estimated $750 billion this year, or over $2 billion per day.

Biden has repeatedly made false claims about having cut the U.S. debt. The annual budget deficit – the extent to which government spending exceeds revenue – shrank by $1.7 trillion during his first two years in office, reflecting the absence of Covid-19 stimulus spending, but it is projected to surge this year. The U.S. has not spent less than its government revenue in 20 years.

Transgender Monkeys And Other Government Waste Exposed

From a Pentagon lobster tank to a transgender monkey study, the U.S. government found a wide range of ways to waste taxpayer dollars in 2023, Senator Rand Paul has revealed in a report highlighting $900 billion of reckless spending.

Endless Wars

Paul released his annual ‘Festivus’ report on Friday, saying Washington continued to fund “endless wars” and send money to foreign countries, even as the national debt ballooned this year from $30 trillion to nearly $34 trillion. “We borrow $200 million every hour, we borrow $3 million every minute, and we borrow $60,000 every second,” he said.

Fur Color Of Dogs

The report gave examples such as a $2.7 million grant that was used to study Russian cats that were forced to walk on a treadmill in a St. Petersburg lab after their brain stems were snipped. More than $477,000 was spent on a transgender monkey study in which the male victims were feminized with injections of female hormones. Another study that Paul found wasteful, funded through a $1.7 billion agricultural research program, found that the fur color of dogs did not affect their rectal temperatures after being walked on a hot day.

Monkeys Gambling

Part of a $12 million grant program was used to study the sleep habits of monkeys given methamphetamines in the morning, while $3.7 million went to gauge the propensity of monkeys to engage in gambling. In the latter experiment, researchers removed parts of the animals’ skulls and injected tracers to monitor their reactions as the monkeys gambled between low-risk and high-risk options shown on two screens. The government also paid $33.2 million to the contractor that fed and housed the nearly 4,000 monkeys kept on a government-owned island off South Carolina for future use in lab experiments.

Paul gave several examples of abuses in Covid-19 relief initiatives, including an $800 billion program in which small employers were paid to keep workers on their payrolls. Scammers claimed the money for fictitious employees, in some cases verifying their identities with pictures of Barbie doll faces. The government’s verification system failed to detect the fake mugshots.

Payments To The Dead

An estimated $38 million in Covid-19 payments went to people who the government knew to be dead, Paul said. A grant program that was supposed to help the owners of entertainment venues stay in business reportedly paid out more than $200 million to famous music artists and their touring companies. The payments included $8.9 million to rapper Lil Wayne, $10 million to Chris Brown, and $8.6 million to rock band Smashing Pumpkins.

Overseas outlays included $6 million to help boost tourism in Egypt. The Pentagon spent more than $8,000 on a lobster tank, and it wasted a combined $170 million by improperly storing armored vehicle treads, hydraulic transmissions, and turbine engines, Paul said.

The senator noted that the federal government spent $659 billion just to cover interest costs on its debt in its latest fiscal year. “We borrow from China to pay the interest on funds we could not afford to spend in the first place,” he said.

Festivus, which was made famous on the American TV sitcom Seinfeld, is a secular December 23 holiday on which celebrants air their grievances and eat meatloaf.

The original article can be found here