Three Months Later.
Another trillion dollars in debt.
1. The U.S. national debt has eclipsed $34 trillion for the first time, the Treasury Department said Tuesday, as persistently large annual deficits continue to add to the federal tab. Roughly three months after the debt first hit $33 trillion, the new milestone comes as lawmakers brace for fiscal showdowns over spending levels in the new year. Government borrowing costs have increased due to the Federal Reserve’s campaign to raise interest rates, spending has remained above pre-covid levels, and tax receipts dropped last year — all worsening the nation’s fiscal outlook. The $34 trillion in total debt recorded at the end of last week represents a more than $2 trillion increase from the roughly $31.4 trillion in debt held at the start of last year. However, economists are sharply divided over the danger posed by the federal debt. (Source: washingtonpost.com, italics mine)
2. The year 2023 saw the greatest global resurgence of armed conflict since 1945: 2024 will be worse. We are living, if not through a World War, then a world at war, the great post- globalisation jostling to divide up the spoils of what was once America’s unipolar imperium. This will be as epoch-defining a period as the late Forties were for Britain, or 1991 for Russia. Unlike the two World Wars, the rival great powers are not challenging the superpower directly — at least, not yet. Instead, American hegemony is being challenged obliquely, as its rivals nibble at the edges of empire, targeting weaker client states in the confidence that the United States now possesses neither the logistical capacity nor the domestic political stability necessary to impose its order on the world. In the Nineties and 2000s, at the height of its unipolar moment, the United States made almost all the world its client state, writing cheques for their security it now struggles to cash: like bankruptcy, decline comes slowly at first, then all at once. (Source: unherd.com, foreignaffairs.com, theatlantic.com)