National debt surpasses $30 trillion for the first time

Total public debt outstanding is now above $30 trillion, according to Treasury Department data published Tuesday.

It’s impossible to know how much debt is too much, and economists remain divided over how big of a problem this really is. But the latest debt milestone comes at a delicate time as borrowing costs are expected to rise.

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“It doesn’t mean a short-term crisis, but it does mean we are going to be poorer in the long term,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Interest costs alone are projected to surpass $5 trillion over the next 10 years and will amount to nearly half of all federal revenue by 2051, according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, an organization focused on raising awareness to the fiscal challenge.

Kelly pointed out that rising borrowing costs will limit how much money Washington can spend on other priorities like climate change.

Skyrocketing pile of debt

The federal government now owes almost $8 trillion to foreign and international investors, led by Japan and China. Eventually, that will need to be paid back, with interest.

“That means American taxpayers will be paying for the retirement of the people in China and Japan, who are our creditors,” said Kelly.

The $30 trillion national debt figure is somewhat inflated by the fact that a chunk of the money is owed by the government to itself. This is debt held in Social Security and other government trust funds. So-called intragovernmental holdings total more than $6 trillion.

Still, the national debt has skyrocketed in recent decades, driven up in part by the 2008 financial crisis and then the pandemic.

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Total debt outstanding stood at $9.2 trillion in December 2007 just as the Great Recession was beginning, according to Treasury data.

By the time former President Donald Trump took office, the national debt stood at nearly $20 trillion.

“Covid exacerbated the problem. We had an emergency situation that required trillions in spending,” said Michael Peterson, CEO of the Peterson Foundation. “But the structural problems we face fiscally existed long before the pandemic.

Even before Covid, Trump presided over a sharp increase in the national debt, highlighted by the massive tax cuts enacted in late 2017 — at a time when the US economy was booming and needed no fiscal stimulus. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will add $1 trillion to $2 trillion in federal debt between 2018 and 2025, according to the Tax Policy Center. The center notes that the impact will be even larger if some of the temporary tax cuts are extended.

Political polarization

Peterson said the principal drivers of the “dangerous fiscal situation” remain an aging population and elevated healthcare costs. He blamed Republicans and Democrats alike for running up the national debt.

“Our current fiscal posture is a result of many years of fiscal irresponsibility from both parties. What’s required to get us out of this situation is honesty and leadership from our elected officials,” Peterson said.

Yet there has been virtually no progress in Washington in addressing the national debt ,and the two parties remain deeply divided over many issues.

“The polarization of our government and, to some extent, our population, makes implementing solutions more difficult,” said Peterson. “If we don’t get our fiscal house in order, all these other concerns like climate, inequality and national security will be made more difficult.”

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About two-thirds (67%) of Americans in a CNN poll in December said government spending is a major problem for the nation’s economy, below rising costs for food and everyday items (80% said that was a major problem) and roughly on par with the pandemic (65% said Covid is a major problem).

There is a wide partisan gap on this issue, with 90% of Republicans calling government spending a major problem, compared with 70% of independents and 44% of Democrats.

In 2020, total public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) surpassed 100%, years ahead of schedule. For context, Japan’s debt-to-GDP is well beyond 200%.

‘Addicted to government debt’

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently acknowledged the fiscal situation can’t continue on the current trajectory.

“We’re on an unsustainable path,” Powell told lawmakers last month. “Debt is not at an unsustainable level, but the path is unsustainable — meaning it’s growing faster than the economy, meaningfully faster than the economy. We have to address that over time. We will address it over time. And the better way to do it is soon.”

But that won’t be easy — or politically popular. And it will be complicated by the Fed’s planned interest rate hikes.

Even though the national debt continues to hit new milestones, the federal government’s interest payments as a percentage of GDP are lower today than in the past. And that gives confidence to many economists that this is not an immediate crisis.

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In 2021, interest as a percentage of GDP stood at 1.5%, compared with 3% in the early and mid-1990s, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank.

“I don’t see a short-term meltdown here,” said Kelly, the JPMorgan strategist.

But he said it still makes sense to reduce the national debt — gradually.

“You don’t want to do it too quickly. This is an economy that is addicted to government debt,” Kelly said. “But the danger is that it keeps growing until eventually it does cause a huge problem.”

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Virginia Is For Learners: #edequityva

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Pantami Harps on Benefits of National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre

Dr Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has said that the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre will enable Nigerians acquire cutting-edge technological skills, when it finally becomes functional.

Pantami stated this on Thursday during the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, in Abuja.

He noted that the groundbreaking ceremony of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre is another giant leap towards the development of our digital economy and diversification of our country’s economy.

Pantami said “The Centre will be based on the ‘live, work and learn’ concept.

The activities of the centre, according to him, will align with 6 out of the 8 pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria.

The minister also revealed that they are developing National Policy on Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which this Centre and many other centres all over the country will implement.

He further explained that the centre when completed would provide several benefits to Nigerians and he mentioned few of them as thus:

“The centre would enable Nigerians to participate in the development of hardware, software and emerging technologies; it will create an innovative ecosystem; provide a unique platform for technical skills (programming), soft skills (social interaction), entrepreneurship (starting and operating a business) to focus on the promotion and development of ICT, including smart energy solutions to drive ICT.

“Other benefits of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre are, it will help nurture new ideas and develop an inquisitive perspective to support in the creation of employers of labour; support in the promotion and development of ICTs, including aspects of advanced applied research; and allow startups to accelerate and experience innovations at scale, through customized visits, design thinking sessions and co-innovation workshops to create a highly collaborative and immersive environment”.

Speaking on some of the achievements of the Ministry, Pantami divulged that the growth of the economy is as a result of the ICT’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP, reaching an unprecedented value of 17.83% in Q2 ‘2020 according to National Bureau for Statistics.

According to the Minister, “We have also recorded an all time high broadband penetration since the redesignation of the Ministry. When I assumed office on the 21st of August 2019, the official broadband penetration figures stood at 33.72%. It increased with the subsequent monthly figures from end of August 2019 to end of November 2020, where it stood at 45.07%.

“We also succeeded in obtaining the commitment of the State Governors to peg their Right of Way charges to a maximum of N145 per linear metre, resolving an issue that had lingered for over 7years.

“In addition, we have also experienced great success in the development of other aspects of our digital economy. Over 120,000 Nigerians have benefited from our online digital skills program, with over 80,000 of them receiving one form of certification or another. This is even without taking the physical trainings into account.

“We have developed over a dozen policies aimed at providing the right environment to enable entrepreneurs to thrive in the sector”.

Pantami further commended the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, for his effort towards the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and the digital innovation and entrepreneurship initiative.

Financial Resources Group Investment Services Announces Partnership with The First National …

FORT MILL, S.C., Jan. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Financial Resources Group Investment Services, LLC (Financial Resources Group) announces their partnership with The First National Bank of Long Island (First National Bank LI). First National Bank of LI will transition its retail investment and investment management division platforms to LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer1, and work directly with Financial Resources Group.

First National Bank LI remains committed to delivering access to sound financial advice, wealth management offerings and trust services2 to its customers. Partnering with Financial Resources Group and LPL Financial enables First National Bank LI to provide its customers with access to thousands of investment products, allowing advisors to tailor specifically to each person’s needs.

“After careful consideration, we chose the LPL platform given its industry-leading technology, dedication to advisor service, and client-first approach. The Financial Resources Group partnership enhances the value of the transition by providing a solid infrastructure that benefits both First National and our customers,” states Chris Becker, President and CEO of First National Bank LI. “We look to continue building on our many years of success by providing our clients with the high-quality trust services and investment management options necessary to help them meet their long-term financial goals.”

“We are excited to work with First National Bank LI, one of the largest community banks located on Long Island, N.Y., with over $4 billion in total bank assets,” said Mark Stieve, Partner and Managing Director of Business Consulting and Development of Financial Resources Group. “Partnering with an organization that shares our passion for client service and growth is truly exciting. With similar vision and values, we look to create one of the premier investment programs in the industry.”

The First National Bank of Long Island joins a list of over 90 financial institutions Financial Resources Group supports as a company dedicated to helping financial advisors and institutions grow their businesses.

About Financial Resources Group

Financial Resources Group is based in Fort Mill, SC and provides customized services to financial advisors to help them grow their programs and practices that include, but are not limited to business development, onboarding, marketing support, and technology. Representatives are registered through LPL Financial as their broker-dealer.  Today, Financial Resources Group supports over 90 financial institutions and over 1,000 financial professionals nationwide with more than $29 billion in brokerage and advisory assets and over $150 million in revenue. For more information on Financial Resources Group, visit

About The First National Bank of Long Island

The First National Bank of Long Island was founded in 1927 in Glen Head, N.Y.  Through a growing branch network branded as First National Bank LI, the Bank serves the financial needs of businesses, professionals, not-for-profits, municipalities and individuals in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Long Island, and the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. The First National Bank of Long Island is the sole subsidiary of The First of Long Island Corporation. The Corporation is traded on the NASDAQ Exchange under the ticker symbol FLIC. In 2020, Newsweek named The First National Bank of Long Island as the “Best Small Bank in the State of New York.” Visit Member FDIC.

About LPL Financial

LPL Financial is a leader in the retail financial advice market and the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer1. They serve independent financial advisors, professionals, and institutions, providing them with the technology, research, clearing and compliance services, and practice management programs they need to create and grow thriving practices. LPL Financial enables them to provide objective guidance to millions of American families seeking wealth management, retirement planning, financial planning and asset management solutions.

1 As reported by Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2020, based on total revenue.

2 LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. Financial Resources Group Investment Services, member FINRA/SIPC, is a separate entity.

Securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker/dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. The First National Bank of Long Island is not registered as a broker/dealer or investment advisor. Registered representatives of LPL offer products and services using The First National Bank of Long Island. These products and services are being offered through LPL or its affiliates, which are separate entities from and not affiliates of The First National Bank of Long Island. Securities and insurance offered through LPL or its affiliates are:

Not Insured by FDIC or
Any Other Government Agency
Not Bank
Not Bank
Deposits or Obligations
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