The United States Now Has Over $20 Trillion in Debt

The Capitol Hill - Washington D.C. - Dark clouds coming over.A rather unfortunate milestone was hit by the United States late last week, as the country officially passed the $20 trillion debt mark.

As of this moment, the official debt number looks like this:


Of this total, approximately $14.6 trillion is in the form of "debt to the public", while the remainder (approximately $5.5 trillion) is in the form of "intragovernmental holdings".

"Debt to the public" is money that is owed to foreign governments, individual investors, pension funds, etc.

"Intragovernmental holdings", on the other hand, is money that is owed to programs such as Social Security. The government is allowed to issue IOUs to funds such as Social Security, with a promise to pay the money back at a later time.

Combine public debt holdings and intragovernmental holdings and you are left with a debt total of over $20 trillion.


The nation's debt load has ramped up considerably over the last decade, largely thanks to the "Great Recession" and the carnage that followed.

While the country isn't posting $1 trillion+ deficits anymore, the yearly deficits are still eye-poppingly massive and are expected to grow over the coming years after a short period of shrinkage.

It seems hard to imagine a time in the near future when the nation posts a surplus once again, as the "Baby Boomer" is aging and continues to retire in droves.

This means that the nation will likely have to make tough choices in the future when it comes to cutting spending on programs such as Social Security.

In the meantime, you can expect the national debt load to continue to ramp higher at an alarming rate.

Filed under: General Knowledge

Related Articles