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The national debt is over $20 trillion. We asked Americans if they're worried about it.


The national debt is over $20 trillion and it's still growing. It's at it's highest level since World War II and paying it off could be nearly impossible.

To put that amount in perspective, if you were alive the day Jesus Christ was born, and you spent $1 million every single day since then until now, you still would not have spent $1 trillion by now.

I'm not sure what's scarier, the national debt or Sen. Rand Paul dressing as the national debt for Halloween.

We asked American tourists in Washington, D.C. if they are worried about the national debt.

"I'm not really that worried, but I should probably be," said Emma Dyer, 14 of Georgia.

"Yeah it is a little concerning," said Danielle Meyer, 28, adding that she's worried about a potential economic collapse.

According to the U.S. debt clock, each taxpayer in the U.S. would have to pay $168,671 to pay off the national debt.

So what's going to happen as the debt keeps ballooning? Economists haven't pinned down a set amount at which the economy will collapse, and some experts say that the amount of debt doesn't really matter, as long as the government demonstrates it can pay it off and continues to pay interest on the debt.

But the interest payments themselves could become a big problem in the near future. According to a 2014 analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, interest payments could eclipse military spending by 2021 and by 2060 the payments could become the government's largest expenditure.

While the national debt has continued to grow in 2017, it grew at half the average annual rate of growth under the Obama administration.

The government can fix the problem by either cutting spending or raising taxes. The CBO estimates a tax hike of 1.1% of GDP would help maintain the current debt-to-GDP ratio.

However, President Trump and Republicans in Congress are working on a tax reform package that would slash taxes across the board. Some economists worry that could significantly increase the national debt, leading to even higher interest rates.

Supporters of the tax framework argue the cuts will pay for themselves, but critics argue the cuts would at best offset a small fraction of the initial revenue loss.

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