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June 20, 2011

Expanded Chart Book Shows Impact of Skyrocketing National Debt

Washington, D.C., June 20, 2011—In roughly 20 years, the typical American’s share of the national debt will more than triple—unless Washington gets the nation’s fiscal house in order. That’s just one of many insights into the nation’s fiscal balance sheet that The Heritage Foundation presents in bold graphics in today’s release of an expanded 2011 Budget Chart Book.

Right now, the national debt averages $31,871 for each American—nearly consuming the median household income of $50,255. Without any real spending cuts or reforms, the Heritage Budget Chart Book illustrates that debt spikes to $103,827 per American by 2032.

“For younger generations, the story gets worse,” says Alison Acosta Fraser, director of Heritage’s Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. “By 2044, each American’s share of the national debt has redoubled to $206,771. And it keeps going up after that.”

The expanded version of the Heritage Budget Chart Book contains 42 graphics that portray Washington’s unprecedented levels of spending, deficits and debt. Seven brand-new graphics have been added since a 2011 preview edition of the chart book was released in April.

One chart compares President Obama’s 2012 budget and Heritage’s fiscal plan to fix the debt, “Saving the American Dream.” Under the President’s budget, net interest spending on the nation’s debt would more than triple in the next decade. But the Heritage plan is projected to balance the budget in 10 years and dramatically reduce the debt to 30 percent of GDP by 2035.

“What comes through strikingly in each graphic is that Washington has a spending problem that must be corrected,” Fraser says, noting that entitlement programs continue to be the main driver of increased federal spending. For example, an updated chart shows how a lack of entitlement reform pushes spending to engulf half of the economy by 2056.

The online Heritage Budget Chart Book lets visitors download, post and e-mail any of the graphics. It also provides links to relevant Heritage research and tools for bookmarking, embedding and information-sharing through Twitter, Facebook and RSS feeds.

The Heritage Foundation is the nation's most broadly supported public policy research institute, with more than 710,000 donors. Founded in 1973, it develops public policy solutions that advance free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values and a strong national defense.

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