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U.S. Begins Fiscal Year $11,776,112,848,656.17 in Debt

Happy New Year!

But leave the hats and horns in the closet. There's nothing to celebrate.

Today marks the start of the 2010 federal fiscal year. The only thing good about it is that FY'09 is finally over.

It was the fiscal year in which the U.S. suffered the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and government numbers reflected that.

It was as if a fiscal tsunami struck and flooded the nation with red ink.

By the time the final numbers are in for the fiscal year just ended, the federal deficit will have hit an all-time high in the range of $1.580-trillion. That's 11.2 percent of the total economy (GDP). The previous year's deficit was – by today's standards – nearly inconsequential at $459-billion. That was only 3.2 percent of GDP.

Over the course of FY'09, the National Debt soared as well from $10.124-trillion on October 1, 2008 to $11,776,112,848,656.17 as of Tuesday, the latest figure from the Bureau of Public Debt. That's an increase of $1.652-trillion – the single largest increase ever in a fiscal year.

The projections for the new fiscal year offer only slight hope of improvements. The mid-session review released by the Office of Management and Budget at the end of August forecasts a deficit for FY'10 just over $1.5-tillion, amounting to 10.4 percent of the total economy. And the aptly-named Gross National Debt is projected to skyrocket in excess of $14-trillion.

The only break taxpayers get is that interest paid on the National Debt is not as much as it otherwise might be because interest rates are so low. Net interest paid on the Debt will amount this year to just under $200-billion. That's about 1.4 percent - a bargain considering the massive amount of the principal.

About the only time President Obama mentions the federal deficit is when he vows not to sign any health care plan "that adds one dime to our deficit -- either now or in the future. Period."

That's good because all other federal spending will add 158-trillion dimes to the deficit already.

More Coverage of the National Debt by Mark Knoller:

$1 Trillion More in Debt Since Obama Took Office
National Debt Hits Record $11 Trillion
Bush Just Escapes Being $5-Trillion Man

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here:
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