Raising the ceiling

In 30 years, the national debt has gone from just under $1 trillion to $14.3 trillion, and is projected to reach just under $21 trillion by 2016. Congress has passed new debt limits over the years that allow the government to keep running, and is currently preparing to debate whether to raise the ceiling this year.

A look at the national debt and the debt ceiling for the past 30 years.
SOURCE: Office of Management and Budget, White House. GRAPHIC: Tobey/The Washington Post. Published on April 18, 2011, 10:59 p.m.
 
Read what others are saying