US Public Debt

December 22, 2010United Statesby EconomyWatch


US public debt is the amount of money that the US federal government owes to creditors who have bought various debt financing instruments issued by the same.

More on US Public Debt
US public debt is also called US governmental debt or national debt. Public debt of US includes all federal debts that are owed to various entities like individuals, corporations, states and foreign governments. However, these do not include the debt held for Social Security or intragovernmental debt responsibilities. Various kinds of securities held by the public comprise of debt securities like Notes, Treasury Bills, Bonds, United States Savings Bonds, TIPS, and State and Local Government Series securities.

US Public Debt Statistics
The total US federal debt was about $9.5 trillion in April, 2008. It was equivalent of $31,000 per capita approximately. About $5.3 trillion is the amount of debt held by the public. The figure rises up to $59.1 trillion with inclusion of Social Security, unfunded Medicaid, Medicare and others. Public debt of US, as in 2007, was 36.8% of GDP while the total US debt was 65% of GDP.

Difference between Public Debt and External Debt
Public debt is the total amount that the government owes to its national and foreign creditors. External debt, on the other hand, is the amount that both the public and private sectors of economy owe to foreign creditors. A major part of the external debt of US is the foreign ownership of the public debt.

Bureau of the Public Debt
Calculation of the amount of money that the national government owes is done by the Bureau of the Public Debt, which is a part of the United States Department of the Treasury. This calculation is done on a daily basis. US national debt can be categorized into two sections namely the securities held by public, which include marketable and non-marketable securities, and securities held by government accounts.

The United States Public Debt for 2003-07 is given below:

End of fiscal year Securities held by (in millions of USD)
Government accounts Public
2007 3,958,417 5,072,195
2006 3,663,773 4,866,593
2005 3,331,333 4,625,013
2004 3,075,687 4,327,550
2003 2,859,291 3,949,981

Debt Raising Procedures
New debt instruments are issued by US government whenever expenses are more than the revenue collected. Most often new bonds are issued by US government and sold in the open market. Monetization of the debt also happens.

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