The U.S. debt surpassed 100 percent of gross domestic product after the government’s debt ceiling was lifted, Treasury figures showed Wednesday, according to AFP.
The debt, which had been in somewhat of a holding pattern over the last several weeks, rose $238 billion after President Obama signed the debt-ceiling deal into law Tuesday to avoid the country’s first-ever default.
The last time the debt topped the size of its annual economy was in 1947 during World War II, according to AFP. But the deficit at the time was driven by war spending — a degree of spending that ebbed once the war ended. The nation’s current deficits were exacerbated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but are also driven in large part by entitlement programs that will not shrink without fundamental changes to their structure — officials point as well to lost revenue from the recession, tax breaks and increased domestic spending as contributors to the current deficit hole.