Debt Total Surges Following Increase of Debt Limit

17 Trillion DollarsFor the first time in the history of the nation, the United States has more than $17 trillion in debt.

According to the Treasury Department, the current public debt outstanding of the United States sits at:


Of that total, $12,117,282,743,815.33 is in the form of "debt held by the public", while the additional $4,958,307,364,148.24 is in the form of "intragovernmental holdings". "Debt held by the public" is money that is owed to pension funds, individual investors, foreign governments, etc., while "intragovernmental holdings" is money that the US government owes to programs such as Social Security.


For months and months, the total public debt outstanding of the United States sat at $16.747 trillion.

The reason that the debt didn't budge for a number of months? The country hits its debt limit back in May, and had been using "extraordinary measures" to fund itself ever since.

The Treasury Department had warned that these "extraordinary measures" would run out by October 17th, and a last minute debt ceiling deal was passed in order to avoid the calamity of a debt default.

From October 16th to October 17th, the total debt load of the nation jumped by over $328 billion. With an increased debt ceiling, the nation no longer had to use "extraordinary measures", and things returned to normal. These "extraordinary measures" can usually create about $200 billion in headroom under the limit, but once the debt ceiling is raised, the debt load of the nation surges literally overnight.

For a more detailed explanation of "extraordinary measures", click here ( *.pdf)


The nation's debt ceiling has been increased until February 7th, at which time the Treasury Department will once again be able to utilize "extraordinary measures" to continue funding the government.

Filed under: General Knowledge

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