U.S. Public Debt

United States public debt

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U.S. Budget & Debt Topics
Part of a series of articles on
United States
budget and debt topics
Major dimensions
Federal budget  · Public debt
Expenditures  · Taxation
Economy  · Financial position

Military budget

Mandatory Programs
Medicare  · Social Security
Contemporary issues
Health care reform  · Social Security debate
Subprime mortgage crisis
Bush tax cuts  · Starve the beast

Bowles-Simpson Commission

Cumulative deficit = Debt
Inflation  · Balance of payments
v · d · e

U.S. debt from 1940 to 2010. Red lines indicate the Debt Held by the Public (net public debt) and black lines indicate the Total Public Debt Outstanding (gross public debt), the difference being that the gross debt includes funds held by the government (e.g. the Social Security Trust Fund). The second panel shows the two debt figures as a percentage of U.S. GDP (dollar value of U.S. economic production for that year). Data from the President’s proposed budget (Historical Tables) and other tables listed when you click on the figure. The top panel is deflated so every year is in 2010 dollars.

The United States public debt is a frequently reported measure of the obligations of the United States federal government and is presented by the United States Treasury in two components and one total:

  • Debt Held by the Public, representing all federal[1] securities held by institutions or individuals outside the United States Government;
  • Intragovernmental Holdings, representing U.S. Treasury securities held in accounts which are administered by the United States Government, such as the OASI Trust fund administered by the Social Security Administration; and
  • Total Public Debt Outstanding, which is the sum of the above components.[2]

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