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Economic Commentary

The Dynamics of Federal Debt

Interest payments on the federal debt have grown faster than the economy since 1974. If this trend were to continue unchecked, by the year 2013 the government would need the nation’s entire gross national product (GNP) just to pay interest on the federal debt.

The views authors express in Economic Commentary are theirs and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland or the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The series editor is Tasia Hane. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. This paper and its data are subject to revision; please visit for updates.

Suggested Citation

Carlson, John B., and Edward Stevens. 1985. “The Dynamics of Federal Debt.” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary 7/1/1985.