by Bill Golden
Our public national debt can be sliced and diced many ways.
Lots of pundits exist that will help you figure out what the numbers are. The U.S. Department of the Treasury provides all Americans with the tools necessary to understand the extent, scope and basis for our public debts at the national level. Just visit TreasuryDirect.gov to learn more.
For the policy wonk in us all (or at least some of us) you can access such things as The Accountability Report which is comprised of the following five separate financial statements:
- Balance Sheet
- Statement of Net Cost
- Statement of Change in Net Position
- Statement of Budgetary Resources, and
- Statement of Custodial Activity
Each of these statements account for the outstanding debt recorded by the Bureau of the Public Debt. The Accountability Report for the Bureau of the Public Debt is consolidated into the Performance and Accountability Report for the Department of the Treasury.
Haven’t heard of the Bureau of the Public Debt? Its job is to borrow the money needed to operate the federal government and to account for the resulting debt. In a nutshell, it borrows by selling Treasury bills, notes, and bonds, as well as U.S. Savings Bonds; pays interest to investors; and, when the time comes to pay back the loans, it redeems investors’ securities. Every time the Bureau of the Public Debt borrows or pays back money, it affects the outstanding debt of the United States.
For those of you that would like a more concise yet comprehensive accounting, just follow my link to the most recent monthly report on total national/public debt.
** Refer to the Total Activity (Issues + Redemptions) table on page 2 of the linked Treasury Direct PDF document for more info. Totals may not agree due to rounding.