National debt greater than $14 trillion

Jan. 4, 2011 at 9:31 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury reported Tuesday the national debt -- as of the last day of 2010 -- topped $14 trillion.

The debt increased from $13 trillion on June 1 to $14.02 trillion Dec. 31, CBS News reported.

The increase means the debt is approaching the statutory ceiling of $14.294 trillion set by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in February. If the ceiling isn't raised, the federal government would have to stop borrowing and could possibly default on some of its debt, economists said.

Some Republicans have indicated they'll try to block an increase in the ceiling unless there's a plan that would significantly reduce federal spending and unfunded government liabilities on entitlement programs.

Austan Goolsbee, White House economic adviser, said Monday it would be "catastrophic" if the federal government defaulted on its financial obligations, CBS said.

"That would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity," Goolsbee said.

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