By Doug Young – 22 November 2023

debt crisis

The United States is facing a mounting debt crisis that could have dire consequences not only for the nation but also for the global economy. Recent reports warn that if immediate action is not taken, the repercussions could be felt within the next two decades.

It is a sobering reality that raises concerns about the country’s fiscal responsibility and its ability to navigate these treacherous waters.

A Troubled History

The United States has had its fair share of fiscal challenges in the past. One particularly notable event was the debt ceiling standoff, which narrowly avoided a first-ever government default on the national debt.

However, the consequences were not completely averted, as credit rating agency Fitch Ratings subsequently downgraded America’s credit rating from AAA to AA+, marking the second time in just over a decade that Uncle Sam’s creditworthiness has been cut.

Close Calls and Government Shutdowns

The near misses and warning signs have continued to pile up.

Just a few months ago, the nation found itself on the brink of a government shutdown. While a resolution was reached at the last moment, the incident led to the historic removal of a House Speaker for the first time in history.

These events highlight the fragility of the nation’s fiscal stability and the urgent need for proactive measures to address the deepening crisis.

Mounting Debt and Deficit

Adding to the concerns is the alarming budget deficit.

The 2023 budget deficit reached a staggering $1.7 trillion, marking the third-highest deficit in history. Such a substantial deficit places further strain on the nation’s already precarious financial situation.

With each passing year, the debt burden grows heavier, making it increasingly difficult to reverse the course and restore fiscal balance.

A Dire Forecast

The highly respected Penn Wharton budget model has recently issued a warning that should not be taken lightly.

Under current policy, the United States has approximately 20 years to take corrective action before a debt default becomes inevitable. Beyond this point, no amount of tax increases or spending cuts will be able to prevent the government from defaulting on its debt.

This default would be significantly larger than technical defaults, with far-reaching consequences that would reverberate across the US and world economies.

The Tipping Point

The Penn Wharton budget model identifies the ratio of public debt to GDP as the key metric for assessing the risk of a default. According to their analysis, the tipping point for a default will be reached when this percentage rises to 200% or even 175%.

This alarming threshold suggests that time is running out, and urgent action is needed to prevent a catastrophic fiscal collapse.

Can Politicians Act in Time?

Despite decades of warnings from the Congressional Budget Office, the track record of politicians in addressing America’s fiscal challenges is less than reassuring.

The question remains: will our nation’s leaders finally take the necessary steps to address this looming threat? The political climate and historical trends indicate that significant changes and decisive actions may be difficult to achieve.

The consequences of inaction are severe. A debt default by the United States would have far-reaching implications, not only for its citizens but for the global economy as well. The United States has long been viewed as a pillar of stability, and any cracks in its financial foundation would send shockwaves throughout the world.


America’s debt crisis is a ticking time bomb that cannot be ignored. Immediate action is needed to address the mounting debt and deficit, and to prevent a catastrophic default within the next two decades.

The stakes are high, and the consequences of inaction are too severe to contemplate. It is time for our nation’s leaders to set aside partisan differences and prioritize the long-term financial stability of the United States and the global economy.

The world is watching, and the time to act is now.