The US federal government has high current debt levels.
Though not astronomical by current world standards.
Current US government bond rates are low.
On current projections, deficits worsen and the debt spirals.
Another depiction, focusing on the next decade:
Many of our current problems stem from decisions we’ve made in the past decade.
Medicare and Medicaid costs, which as seen above make up a large part of the projected expansion of future deficits, are expected to increase more because of health care costs than an aging population.
US health care costs are out of whack compared to the rest of the world.
That trend started in the 1980s.
The problem with health care costs is, therefore, an overall US policy matter, not a US government program matter– in fact, Medicare has done a better job reining in costs than private insurers.
Meanwhile, our tax burden is quite light– federal tax revenues are at historically low levels.
A decline in income tax revenue is part of the US’s revenue problem…
… in part because we’ve lowered rates lately.
Corporate profits, fortunately, have rebounded from recession levels.
Small businesses cite low demand as their main obstruction to growth.
Employment, unlike profits, has not recovered…
… despite low interest rates…
… and low inflation.
Which is a pretty big downer, obviously for the unemployed, but also because high levels of unemployment drag down compensation for everyone.
This in the larger context of decades of most benefits of economic growth going to the top 20% of wage earners, and rather unevenly even among that quintile.
ADDED: The growth of inequality in the recent past is a new phenomenon.
And a large amount of cash on hand for businesses: