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What is the actual U.S. national debt?

Jango

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U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time

The debt clock says one large astronomical number, but I've seen for years from message board posters, economists, politicians and government employees that the number is actually much, much higher than what is reported.

So, what is the actual U.S. national debt?
 

Fisher

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Well it is always a moving target, but look in the bottom right side of your link at the total unfunded liabilities number--that is what they/we often talk about--the $125T number which I have seen estimated to be closer to $225T by some. Depends on your methodology.
 

EdwinWillers

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Well it is always a moving target, but look in the bottom right side of your link at the total unfunded liabilities number--that is what they/we often talk about--the $125T number which I have seen estimated to be closer to $225T by some. Depends on your methodology.
Yeah. Just looking at the net present value of Medicare and Social Security (as of Nov 2012), which brings our debt to over $86 trillion, it's not at all irrational to guesstimate it well over the $120 trillion mark.

Which is what makes the current interest in "sustainable technologies" so uproariously slapstick.

...only a matter of time before the collapse...
 

pdog

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Well it is always a moving target, but look in the bottom right side of your link at the total unfunded liabilities number--that is what they/we often talk about--the $125T number which I have seen estimated to be closer to $225T by some. Depends on your methodology.

Can somebody at least post how many years (t) they are using when getting these absurd numbers? Can you at least disclaim how many variables you are holding constant to come up with such a thing? Present Value is a tool to weigh one investment against another. It's not something to let you pull back the future cost of something and add it to you current balance as if nothing else in the universe has changed. There are problems with our future liabilities but these scare tactics with "large" numbers provide no insight. 92 million miles away really is far, but just because YOU can't drive there, doesn't mean that things aren't exactly that far away nor is there anything inherently scary or unfamiliar about it just because it is a large number.

Now excuse me while I go calculate the present value of my banana consumption so I can figure out how much that damn delicious fruit after 75 years is killing my net worth today.
 

Fisher

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Can somebody at least post how many years (t) they are using when getting these absurd numbers? Can you at least disclaim how many variables you are holding constant to come up with such a thing? Present Value is a tool to weigh one investment against another. It's not something to let you pull back the future cost of something and add it to you current balance as if nothing else in the universe has changed. There are problems with our future liabilities but these scare tactics with "large" numbers provide no insight. 92 million miles away really is far, but just because YOU can't drive there, doesn't mean that things aren't exactly that far away nor is there anything inherently scary or unfamiliar about it just because it is a large number.

Now excuse me while I go calculate the present value of my banana consumption so I can figure out how much that damn delicious fruit after 75 years is killing my net worth today.

It is not present value. It is projected cost v. projected revenue under current policy. Ask you banana supplier.
 

pdog

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It is not present value. It is projected cost v. projected revenue under current policy. Ask you banana supplier.

Again, over what time period? What allows you pick this arbitrary value and treat the result as anything less arbitrary. What are the chances of any of the variables being the same that amount into the future?

Lets be clear, I'm not against projections as a planning tool, but context here is the "actual" debt as if there is some mistake by not adding projections as if they are set in stone.
 

jonny5

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U.S. National Debt Clock : Real Time

The debt clock says one large astronomical number, but I've seen for years from message board posters, economists, politicians and government employees that the number is actually much, much higher than what is reported.

So, what is the actual U.S. national debt?

Whatever it says in the Treasury Reports. That's the actual contractual money owed to people and agencies that have purchases t-bonds. As of Sept 3rd closing, total public debt was 16.7 trillion. Interestingly, we're 24 million from hitting the debt limit. The govt is doing some serious juggling to keep us under it since congress is AWOL.
 
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