The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

CBO: Interest on the federal debt alone will be $880 BILLION in ten years

A credit card user displays her cards in Washington February 22, 2010. New credit card rules that come into effect today, the second round of provisions from legislation known as the CARD act, will significantly affect how card issuers earn money by restricting their ability to charge fees and raise rates, especially on existing balances.   REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque   (UNITED STATES) - RTR2APGD A credit card user displays her cards in Washington February 22, 2010. New credit card rules that come into effect today, the second round of provisions from legislation known as the CARD act, will significantly affect how card issuers earn money by restricting their ability to charge fees and raise rates, especially on existing balances. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES) - RTR2APGD  

The fastest growing item in the budget is the net interest payment to the nation’s creditors, according to Republican staff on the Senate Budget Committee.

With a current federal debt of about $17.5 trillion, the Congressional Budget Office projects that in 2014 taxpayers will foot the bill for $233 billion in interest payments alone. By 2024, the CBO believes that those payments will nearly quadruple to $880 billion.

“Every dollar spent paying our creditors is a dollar wasted — money for which we get nothing in return. Interest payments threaten to crowd out every other budget item,” GOP Senate Budget Committee staff write in a memo released Wednesday.

To put the $880 billion 2024 projection in perspective, the committee staff broke down current spending on other budget items:

Federal Courts – $7.4 billion

Department of Education – $56.7 billion

Secret Service – $1.8 billion

Food Inspection – $2.3 billion

Census Bureau – $1.0 billion

Border Patrol – $12.3 billion

National Parks – $3.0 billion

NASA – $17.6 billion

Centers for Disease Control – $7.1 billion

Federal Prison System – $6.9 billion

Workplace Safety Inspections – $0.9 billion

Immigration and Customs Enforcement – $5.6 billion

FDA – $2.6 billion

Federal Highway Budget – $40.4 billion

Coast Guard – $10.0 billion

Small Business Loans – $0.9 billion

Veterans’ Health Care – $55.3 billion

FBI – $8.3 billion

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The committee staff note that, in addition to overtaking the federal budget, the payments could “threaten to plunge the nation into fiscal crisis.”

“Even a modest rise in interest rates could lead to a financial emergency, with the U.S. facing a dangerous spiral of rising interest costs and increased borrowing to finance those interest costs,” they speculate.

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