Trillions of dollars appear to be a pittance to Ben Bernanke, President Barack Obama’s Federal Reserve chairman.

At a Thursday Joint Economic Committee hearing, South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint pointed out that the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates artificially low and, by extension, also keeping payments on U.S. debt low — allowing Congress to potentially over-borrow.

DeMint probed Bernanke on how increasing interest rates would affect U.S. debt payments.

According to Bernanke, if interest rates were raised by just one percent, the deficit would increase $100 billion annually. DeMint point out that would be $1 trillion over a decade.

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