U.S. national debt hits $16T; GOP critical
Published: September 4, 2012 04:33PM
Updated: September 4, 2012 04:34PM

Washington • The national debt has topped $16 trillion as chronic government deficits have piled more than $50,000 worth of debt onto federal ledgers for every man, woman and child in the United States.

Barack Obama’s GOP rivals used the grim but expected news to blast the president for the government’s dreadful fiscal performance over his 3 1/2 years in office. Obama has presided over four straight years of trillion dollar-plus deficits after inheriting a weak economy from his predecessor, George W. Bush.

The spiraling debt means that lawmakers and whoever wins the White House in November will have to pass legislation to raise the government’s borrowing cap from the current ceiling of $16.4 trillion. Passing such legislation last year proved enormously difficult and the nation’s credit rating suffered.