The scariest article you’ll read today — or any day

“The Four National Debts” by Kevin D. Williamson, in NRO:

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?)

Follow along and read the whole thing.