The federal government added $93,245,605,914.16 to its debt on Oct. 1, the first day of fiscal 2013. That was more than all the debt the federal government accumulated between July 4, 1776 when the United States declared independence from England and October 1942, less than a year after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States entered World War II.
At the close of business on Sept. 30, 1942, according to the U.S. Treasury’s Monthly Statement of the Public Debt, the total debt of the U.S. government was $91,057,523,886.72. By the close of business on Oct. 31, 1942, it was $97,168,867,541.93. Sometime during October 1942 the total debt that the U.S. government had accumulated during the first 166 years of the nation’s existence eclipsed the $93,245,605,914.16 in new debt the U.S. government accumulated solely during the business hours of Monday, Oct. 1, 2012
The $93,245,605,914.16 that the debt increased on Monday was the second largest increase on the first day of a fiscal year in the history of the country. On Oct. 1, 2008, the first day of fiscal 2009, the debt jumped $99,500,170,215.20—the all-time largest increase on the first day of a fiscal year. At that time, the federal government was dealing with a banking crisis. On Oct. 3, 2008, Congress enacted the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which authorized spending $700 billion to bailout financial institutions.
At the close of business on Friday, Sept. 28, which was the last business day of fiscal 2012, the debt of the U.S. government stood at $16,066,241,407,385.89, according to the U.S. Treasury. By the close of business on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, the first business day of fiscal 2013, it had climbed to 16,159,487,013,300.35—a one-day increase of $93,245,605,914.16.
According to the latest estimate from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, there are 114,328,000 households in the United States. Thus the $93,245,605,914.16 that the federal government added to the debt on Monday equaled about $816 for every American household.
The median American household income was $50,502 in 2011, according to the Census Bureau. At that rate, the median household earns about $138.36 per day over a 365-day year. To pay off the $816 in new per-household debt the federal government accumulated on Monday alone, the median household would need to hand over all the money it earned over approximately 5.9 days.