Puerto Rico Economic Pulse ©

August 2011: What Happened in the US?

A story of politics, public debt, and consequences

Over the past 10 years, the US federal public debt has increased by $9.7 trillion reaching the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling in 2011. That is “trillion” with a “T.” The US has borrowed from: the Social Security trust fund; China and Japan; and other investors. After a long and unprecedented congressional debate with political overtones, in August 2011 the debt ceiling increase was finally approved. The deal was approved together with $2.2 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. The debate demonstrated the inability of US Congress and the Executive Branch to reach a consensus agreement. The end result harmed the prestige of the US economy and its financial system. Proposed spending cuts will impact almost all federal services and will hit Puerto Rico. This issue analyzes the causes of the US high debt, its consequences, and the impact in PR.