As I have argued (repeatedly, endlessly, ad nauseam, I know!), our real national debt is not that $14.3 trillion we always hear about, but more like $140 trillion. Another thing to keep in mind: That $14.3 trillion is not just one national debt, but four of them.
There are two flavors of national debt: debt held by the public and intragovernmental debt. The first category — securities held by investors, basically — is the one we mostly worry about. (I worry about the other one, too, but that’s another story.) If I may be permitted to express it in its full glory, the debt held by the public as of April 15 amounts to $9,679,202,714,701.01. (Love, love, love that penny on the end — can’t say Treasury isn’t minding the details! Wasn’t it Ben Franklin who said, “Mind the pennies and the trillions will take care of themselves”? Or something like that?)
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