The national debt hit $22.01 trillion Tuesday, according to a daily statement from the Treasury Department, as Democrats angling for the presidency push for massive new social programs.
The national debt consists of the sum total of annual budget deficits. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this deficit for 2019 will be $897 billion, which is a 15.1 percent increase over the 2018 deficit of $779 billion. The CBO predicts deficits will keep rising in the next few years, tipping over $1 trillion in 2020 annually and never dropping beneath $1 trillion through 2029.
The latest figure marks a $2 trillion rise over the last two years. A great part of the increase comes from the rising cost of providing Social Security and Medicare to the ever-growing numbers of Baby Boomers old enough to retire, according to a report from the AP.
This report comes amidst calls from 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls to expand Medicare programs. During a CNN town hall, Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) voiced strong support for a "Medicare for all" single-payer system. When asked if she would eliminate private health insurance entirely to create a single payer system, Harris reaffirmed her support.
"Who of us has not had that situation, where you've got to wait for approval and the doctor says, well, I don't know if your insurance company is going to cover this?," Harris said. "Let's eliminate all of that. Let's move on."
Harris's campaign later walked back the Senator's comments, saying that she preferred "Medicare for all" as an ultimate solution but was open to intermediary ideas.
Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) have also shown strong support for expanding Medicare, co-sponsoring a bill put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), himself a possible 2020 contender.
"This is something that’s got to happen. Obamacare was a first step in advancing this country, but I won’t rest until every American has a basic security that comes with having access to affordable health care," Booker told NJTV of the bill.
According to the statistics website Statista, the national debt could top $23 trillion by 2020, if spending continues as scheduled.