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Paige Fusco, with image by DonkeyHotey

US debt hits record: Should you worry?

Earlier this week, US gross national debt hit a new high, clocking $31 trillion. Gasp! That’s almost twice what it was a decade ago, and debt is now equal to well over 100% of GDP, hovering at the highest levels since World War II.

Is steadily rising US debt a problem, or is the risk of a financial meltdown overblown? Here’s a quick guide to the debate over debt.

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Will the US Debt Ceiling Debate Cause a Government Shutdown? | US Politics :60 | GZERO Media

Will the US debt ceiling debate cause a government shutdown?

Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

Is a US government shutdown coming?

Hard to say. Republicans and Democrats generally are in agreement about the need to fund the government. And they generally agree at what level the government should be funded. And they generally agree about the need for supplemental money for Afghanistan and some natural disasters, coming out of hurricanes this season and wildfires. What they're not in agreement about is the federal debt limit, which is the cap on US borrowing that the US hit in early August and needs to be extended by some time in October. Otherwise, the US will have a first-ever default. This would be a very bad outcome with cataclysmic results for the entire world economy.

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