After Congress Lifted Debt Limit Last Year, Debt Jumped $500 Billion in Two Months

By Terence P. Jeffrey | May 5, 2011 | 2:13 PM EDT

President Barack Obama smiles during an interview with The Associated Press, Friday, April 15, 2011, in Chicago. (AP photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

( - The last time Congress lifted the legal limit on the national debt, the debt jumped by $500 billion in just two months, according to the Treasury Department.

On Feb. 12, 2010, the portion of the national debt subject to the legal limit was $12.295146 trillion. On that day, President Barack Obama signed a new law lifting the legal debt limit from $12.394 trillion to $14.294 trillion—giving the Treasury the legal authority to borrow an additional $1.9 trillion.

The government blew through the first $500 billion of its new line of credit in only two months.

By April 15, 2010--federal income tax day--the portion of the national debt subject to the legal limit stood at $12.817961—a $522 billion jump from Feb. 12, 2010.

In just the first full calendar month—March 2010--after Obama and Congress increased the debt limit last year, the debt subject to that limit increased by $332.794 billion—or more than $10 billion per day.

Over the entire course of fiscal 2010, the national debt increased $1.657 trillion.

As of the close of business Tuesday, the national debt subject to the limit stood at $14.280140—or just $13.86 billion short of the legal limit Congress and President Obama set only 14 months ago.

Since Congress and Obama reset the debt limit on Feb. 12, 2010, the federal government has borrowed an additional $1.984944 trillion. Given that the Census Bureau estimates there are now about 117,538,000 households in the United States, the federal government has borrowed an additional $16,888 per American household since the last increase in the debt limit--just last year.

The total national debt--which was $14,331,792,440,897.76 as of Tuesday—now equals $121,933 per American household.