Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), said it as clear as day: “We are a nation addicted to debt.”

And she’s not wrong. The whole country — from citizens to the federal government — is in way over its head.

According to the CRFB — a nonpartisan, non-profit organization working to educate the public on fiscal policy issues and their impact — the US deficit totaled $1.7 trillion in fiscal year 2023, which ended 30 September. (In actuality, the country borrowed $2 trillion when accounting for President Biden’s reversed student debt cancellation plan. Year-over-year, the US doubled what it borrowed compared to 2022.)

Already in the first month of fiscal year 2024, the US borrowed $67 billion.

These insurmountable figures not only burden future generations but also constrain the government’s ability to maneuver in times of crisis. The CRFB reports that we’re on course to borrow another $19 trillion over the next decade alone, while interest costs are surging past other parts of the budget.

If you’ve been around and paying attention for a while, you may shrug and think, ‘So what, debt has always been a problem and we’re still here.’ Here are three reasons why the situation we now face in the United States is unique:

  1. Interest rates are rising
  1. No one wants US Treasury bonds anymore
  1. You’re not allowed to talk about it

READ MORE: America’s giant debt hole