Relative to the size of the U.S. economy, is the current national debt larger than any other era of U.S. history?
The U.S. national debt is currently $28.7 trillion, or 131% of the nation's annual economic output. This is higher than any other era of U.S. history. The previous record of 118% stemmed from World War II, the deadliest and most widespread conflict in the history of the world. Journalists and politicians often report that the national debt is around 100% of the nation's annual economic output, but such figures exclude the portion of the national debt that the federal government owes to programs like Social Security and Medicare. In stark contrast, politicians and journalists commonly include this same money in the assets of these programs when reporting on their financial status.