US National Debt

Our U.S. national debt is a major concern for both lawmakers and citizens. In general, it has been growing at an alarming rate over the past 60 years. The goals of this project include developing linear and exponential models from actual debt figures, exploring the accuracy of those models, and forecasting future debt figures from them.

Task 1: Find an article from January 2022 or later about the U.S. national debt. Write a short paragraph (a few sentences) in which you state the current size of the debt and you discuss at least two reasons why it is important for the U.S. to manage its debt. Provide a citation for your article.

Task 2: Review the table of values below, and describe a few trends that you observe. Compute a few average rates of change and percentage rates of change for various time periods, and refer to them in your discussion

Year Debt (billions)
1960 286
1965 317
1970 371
1975 533
1980 908
1985 1823
1990 3233
1995 4974
2000 5674
2005 7933
2006 8507
2007 9008
2008 10025
2009 11910
2010 13562
2011 14790
2012 16066
2013 16738
2014 17824
2015 18151
   
   

 

Source: https://www.treasurydirect.gov/

 

 

 

 

Task 3: Find the U.S. national debt for the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Cite your source for this data.

 

Task 4: Use the data from the years 2011 and 2012 to create a linear model for the U.S. national debt with 2011 as the initial year. Show all the mathematical steps. What does your model forecast for the years 2015 and 2019? How do these values compare with the actual debt data for 2015 and 2019?

 

Task 5: Use the data from the years 2016 and 2018 to create a linear model for the U.S. national debt with 2016 as the initial year. Show all the mathematical steps. What does your model forecast for the years 2021, 2025, and 2029? How does the first value compare with the actual debt data for 2021?

 

Task 6: Use the data from the years 2000 and 2005 to create an exponential model for the U.S. national debt with 2000 as the initial year. Show all the mathematical steps. What does your model forecast for the years 2011 and 2016? How do these values compare with the actual debt data for 2011 and 2016?

 

Task 7: Use the data from the years 2013 and 2015 to create an exponential model for the U.S. national debt with 2013 as the initial year. Show all the mathematical steps. What does your model forecast for the years 2018, 2024, and 2030? How does the first value compare with the actual debt data for 2018?

 

Task 8: Look back at the linear models and the exponential models you created. Discuss the relative accuracy of these models by computing and comparing the percentage rates of error between the forecasted debt values and the actual debt values. Which of the models seemed to be the most accurate? Which of the models seemed to be the least accurate? Provide explanations for all of your conclusions.