$18,532,338,091,711.00: That was the national debt late Thursday. The feds couldn't wait to start bingeing once Congress lifted the debt ceiling and canceled spending caps. A week earlier, the debt stood at roughly $18.1 trillion. What happened?
Economist David Malpass of Encima Global was the first to alert us to the sudden surge in borrowing. On Tuesday, the national debt skyrocketed by $339.1 billion. In one day! It's the most borrowing in one day for all of American history, according to USA Today.
It came just 24 hours after President Obama signed into law the suspension of the debt limit. No wonder Wall Street celebrated the budget-busting deal — $339 billion is a lot of money in fees for selling government bonds.
The borrowing blitz may also help explain why the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury hit a five-year high on Friday. That, of course, means that the cost of financing our debt just got more expensive. Interest on the debt is becoming one of the most expensive line items in our federal budget.
Most of this one-day borrowing came from the delay in issuing new debt in order to stay under the old debt ceiling. So once the cork was popped off, the pent-up borrowing shot up.
It's also important to understand that Congress didn't just raise the debt ceiling, which is bad enough. The new law allows unlimited Treasury borrowing for the next 18 months "as necessary to fund a government commitment." In other words, a credit card without limits.
This means that we are operating for the next 18 months or so with no debt ceiling at all. A Republican Congress has given Obama unlimited borrowing authority. The sad fact is that we now have not one, but two big-spending parties in Washington.
Meanwhile, Obama keeps celebrating how his policies have caused the deficit to tumble. Really?
Federal spending is now expected to rise by $500 billion in two years — 2015 and 2016. It now looks as though Obama policies will have caused the debt to nearly double to just under $20 trillion in his eight years in office. The average family's share of this debt bomb is closing in on $225,000.
And to think Obama once called George W. Bush America's most fiscally irresponsible president.