it really depends a LOT on which source you pick. here's a few:
The debt game
When politicians (of both parties) talk about the debt, they don't like talking about $8 trillion, so they add up all the funds, as shown above, and
talk about the "debt held by the public." They call this the "national debt," and they call its yearly increase the "deficit."
But this way of talking makes it sound like the money put into Social Security and into government and military pensions funds, all of which is
borrowed by the General Fund (AKA federal funds) is not owed to the public. But it is. That money came from everyone's paychecks (FICA) and is owed
to them in retirement. Every president has promised to keep that money safe. So, really, the whole $8 trillion is owed to the public.
In fact, over $2 trillion of what they call "held by the public" is actually held by foreign interests, while 100% of what is owed to Social
Security is owed to Americans.
How did the General Fund (gross national debt) end up $8 trillion in the hole? Tax cuts and spending increases--largely military spending increase,
plus there is a little debt left over from WWII. Check when and how did the national debet accumulate?
The big red number is the "Gross National Debt," and the small red number is the "debt held by the public" -- as if borrowing $2 trillion form the
Social Security Trust Fund was not borrowing from the public. The small number is the one politicians usually talk about.
The Debt To the Penny
he he he, check THIS guy out. he must work for citigroup:
Debt is the wrong enemy. Americans should welcome the growth-enhancing lower tax rates enabled by prudent borrowing. Unfortunately, growth --our
forgotten friend -- never seems to come up in the debate. Let's change that. Let's get the national debate off the deficit/debt sidetrack, and onto
the right track: economic growth.
The long-term economic health of the United States is threatened by $53 trillion in government debts and liabilities that start to come due in four
years when baby boomers begin to retire. (Related graphic: U.S. economy threatened by aging of America)
i think diferent people see this in different ways. i think we all have an idea what would happen if we could run up our credit cards till they burst.
it seems that some of these guys think that you can take social security right off the top of the national debt. this is nuts. usually they call that
robbing the penion fund and the principals go to jail.