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"The recent near-term [economic] indicators show little sign of improvement," Mr. Bernanke said, citing higher levels of new jobless claims since mid-January. ... Meanwhile, businesses "have apparently cut back their plans." ... "We are better off moving aggressively today to solve our economic problems." But given the economic climate, "enormous" deficits are "unavoidable," Mr. Bernanke said
When politicians (of both parties) talk about the debt, they don't like talking about $9 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, 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 $9 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 by Social Security is owed to Americans.
How did the General Fund end up $9 trillion in the hole? Tax cuts and spending increases--largely military spending increases, plus there is a little debt left over from WWII.