Interest Costs Just Surpassed Defense and Medicare

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By Committe for a Responsible Federal Budget

In the first seven months of Fiscal Year (FY) 2024, spending on net interest has reached $514 billion, surpassing spending on both national defense ($498 billion) and Medicare ($465 billion). Overall spending has totaled $3.9 trillion thus far. Spending on interest is also more than all the money spent this year on veterans, education, and transportation combined. 

Interest on the debt is currently the fastest growing part of the budget, nearly doubling from $345 billion (1.6 percent of GDP) in FY 2020 to $659 billion (2.4 percent of GDP) in 2023, and net interest is on track to reach $870 billion (3.1 percent of GDP) by the end of FY 2024. Spending on interest is now the second largest line item in the budget and is expected to remain so for the rest of the fiscal year. By 2051, interest will be the largest line item in the budget.

Rising debt will continue to put upward pressure on interest rates. Without reforms to reduce the debt and interest, interest costs will keep rising, crowd out spending on other priorities, and burden future generations. 

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization committed to educating the public on issues with significant fiscal policy impact.

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