FALSE: US national debt reaches more than $30 trillion

At a glance
  • Claim: The United States national debt has reached more than $30 trillion at some point.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: Data from the US Department of the Treasury show that the recorded US national debt has never reached $30 trillion.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in two YouTube videos from the channel “Filipino Future.” Combined, they have 181,215 views, as of writing. 
Complete details

Two YouTube videos dated March 24, 2020, and March 26, 2020, from the channel “Filipino Future” claimed that the United States government debt had reached more than $30 trillion at some point in history.

As of writing, the two videos have a combined 181,215 views.

The claim is false. 

According to the US Department of the Treasury, the country's national debt did not reach $30 trillion at any point in history from 1790 to September 30, 2020. The treasury department's records show the national debt at the end of each fiscal year or at the beginning of the next one.

The chart below shows the country's historical debt outstanding for each fiscal year.

The US Treasury Department's "Monthly Statements of the Public Debt for 2020," which covers the dates that the videos from “Filipino Future” were posted, shows that the recorded US national debt on February 29, 2020, and March 31, 2020, were about $23.41 trillion and $23.69 trillion, respectively.

The department also publishes a “Debt to the Penny” section, wherein daily recorded data of the US national debt can be found from as far back as April 1, 1993. On the downloadable .csv file, it can be readily seen that none of the daily recorded US national debt during the period covered reached $30 trillion.

Also, a chart of the US government debt from 1942 to 2021 on the website ​tradingeconomics.com shows that the US national debt has never reached $30 trillion during the period covered.

As of Friday, June 11, the US national debt is at about $28.37 trillion, according to the website usdebtclock.org.

Rappler has fact-checked “Filipino Future” many times before. – Percival Bueser/Rappler.com

Percival Bueser is a graduate of Rappler's fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler's research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler's fact-checking mentorship program here.

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