National debt at $545,668 per household

May 30, 2009 at 2:51 PM

WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- Federal debt last year amounted to a record $545,668 per U.S. household -- a 12-percent spike in just one year, government sources said.

The increase burdens each household with an additional $55,000 in national debt for just 2008, USA Today reported Saturday.

The increase can be pinned on the explosion of federal borrowing during the recession and an aging population that is driving up the costs of Medicare and Social Security.

"We have a huge implicit mortgage on every household in America — except, unlike a real mortgage, it's not backed up by a house," said David Walker, former U.S. comptroller general, the government's chief auditor.

The federal government assumed $6.8 trillion in new debt last year, pushing its total debt to a record $63.8 trillion, USA Today reported.

The enormous burden has increased awareness of the government's financial challenges, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., said.

"More and more, people are worried about our fiscal future," Cooper said.

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