The federal debt is rising, but is the total debt level and pace of growth a critical problem, or are we managing the problem effectively due to largely uncelebrated progress? The Bookings Institute takes a quick look.
Prior to the severe 2008 recession, the federal debt as a percent of GDP was expected to rise gradually over the next decade. Due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which increased spending and cut taxes in order to mitigate the recession, debt as a percent of GDP grew substantially. However, higher taxes on wealthier families and slower growth in Medicare costs have kept the debt from raging out of control.