The Great National Debt Freakout (Explained in Five Minutes)

In the next 25 years, the national debt is on an "explosive path," assuming we keep 2012 policies in place. Why did this happen? How worried should we be?

In Newsbound's latest graphic explainer, we take a look at the national debt and annual budget deficits that have been driving it upwards. We describe the nuts and bolts of government borrowing and examine what scenarios certain experts are worried about when they refer to the U.S. "debt problem." We also explain why efforts to bring down the deficit through simply raising taxes or cutting spending miss the point. (Spoiler alert: Real deficit reduction will require stimulating the economy and controlling health care costs.)

The explainer is published in Newsbound's stack format. To advance, use the arrow keys on your keyboard. If using a touchscreen device, just swipe the screen.

If you liked this, check out our previous breakdown of the so-called fiscal cliff. Additional explainers are available at