The Visual Capitalist has an image that helps comprehend how much our nation’s debt payments have skyrocketed. “The cost of paying for America’s national debt crossed the $1 trillion dollar mark in 2023, driven by high interest rates and a record $34 trillion mountain of debt,” it explains.

Warning: This might be triggering for some people:

Did you have to scroll down a lot to be able to see the whole spike in the graph? I did.

I also recall reading many warnings years in advance about how this would happen—interest rates couldn’t stay so low, and our “leaders” weren’t cutting spending.

The federal government will spend more on interest on debt in 2024 than it will on defense. That’s a huge amount of money, and it’s not buying us anything. It’s just paying for debt; the money’s already been spent. And this will continue to go on and get worse without action, dragging more and more on our economy and prosperity. Countries with this level of debt experience economic slowdown, according to a World Bank study. A high debt-to-GDP ratio has also been found to contribute to higher interest rates

A report by the Congressional Budget Office last month predicted: “Debt held by the public, boosted by the large deficits, reaches its highest level ever in 2029 (measured as a percentage of GDP) and then continues to grow, reaching 166 percent of GDP in 2054 and remaining on track to increase thereafter.” 

We’ve seen some Republicans in Congress try to reduce spending, but with little success. Elsewhere, Americans have been able to get results. In Idaho, 12 new state legislators, who had campaigned on resisting establishment Republicans and reducing the budget, were able to pass a budget bill that was easily understood and provided just enough money to keep the government running. The State Freedom Caucus explained in this video that makes reducing spending about as amusing as it gets: