Over the full decade, the coronavirus recession is projected to add nearly $8 trillion to the national debt. It will push the debt held by the public to $41 trillion within a decade, or 128% of the economy. This would exceed the national debt as a share of GDP at the height of World War II. But the future looks more grim today for the debt burden. The war ended before the debt could rise further and the United States did not have the same entitlement burden we have today. Even if there's a vigorous recovery one day, the expanding Social Security and Medicare shortfalls will keep the current debt increasing.
Brian Riedl is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He is the author of the new report, "Coronavirus Budget Projections: Escalating Deficits and Debt." Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Riedl.
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