While Wall Street celebrates the Dow hitting 20,000, there is another "20" looming that could carry significantly darker overtones.
The U.S. is just weeks away from passing the $20 trillion mark in total public debt outstanding — the "national debt," as it is more widely known.
Though general concern about containing debt and deficits has waned as the nation has looked for ways to stimulate the sluggish, post-recession economy, that $20 trillion milestone could grab at least some attention.
"While the party hats are out for 20K on the Dow, that $20 trillion in debt is really salient," said economist and debt hawk Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies. Pento has been predicting a bond market crash that would come with a collapse in demand and the weight of eventually rising rates that will push up the cost to finance American debt.
Debt nearly doubled under former President Barack Obama, who presided over it mushrooming from $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion by the time he left office last week. Though he's only been in office for less than a week, President Donald Trump has seen the debt rise another $2 billion.