At the end of FY 2013 the gross US federal government debt is expected to be 17.548 trillion dollars. Of this gross amount, debt “Held by the Public” amounts to 10.560 trillion dollars and debt “Held by Federal Government Accounts” amounts to 4.911 trillion dollars.
Projected and Recent US Federal Debt Numbers
Gross Federal Debt
Debt Held by Public
Debt Held by Federal Reserve
“Gross Federal Debt” is the total debt owed by the United States federal government.\
It comprises “Debt Held by Public”, including foreign governments, debt held by federal government accounts such as IOUs owed to the Social Security trust fund, and “Debt held by Federal Reserve,” debt bought by the Federal Reserve System as part of the monetary base.
Total Government Debt since 1900
At the beginning of the 20th century total government debt was equally divided between federal and state and local debt, totaling less than 20 percent of GDP. After World War I, the federal debt surged to 35% of GDP. But by the mid 1920s federal debt had declined to below 20 percent of GDP with state and local debt rising to 16 percent of GDP.
Then came the Great Depression, and President Roosevelt decided to spend his way out of trouble, boosting federal debt to 40 percent of GDP. So did the local governments, with state debt peaking at over 5 percent of GDP in 1933 and local debt peaking at over 28 percent in 1933. Government debt, including federal and state and local debt rose to 70 percent of GDP.
But it was in World War II that the US really entered new debt territory. Starting at 45 percent of GDP in 1941 federal debt zoomed, reaching almost 122 percent of GDP in 1946 after the end of the war, with state and local debt adding another 7 percent. For the next 35 years successive governments brought down the debt, but then came President Reagan. He increased the federal debt up over 50 percent of GDP to win the Cold War. President Bush increased the debt to fight a war on terror and bail out the banks. President Obama is increasing the debt to fund a plan to revive the economy in the aftermath of the Crash of 2008.
Gross Public Debt-State, Gross Public Debt-Local, Gross Public Debt-Federal
Gross Public Debt-State, Gross Public Debt-Local, Gross Public Debt-Federal
Total US Government Debt in 2013
At the end of FY 2013 the total government debt in the United States, including federal, state, and local, is expected to be 20.541 trillion dollars.
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Don’t let him lie to you: sequester was Obama’s idea – Woodward says so
Bob Woodward on ‘The Price of Politics,’ Fiscal Fight
Obama’s sequester deal-changer
By Bob Woodward, Published: February 22
Bob Woodward (email@example.com) is an associate editor of The Post. His latest book is “The Price of Politics.” Evelyn M. Duffy contributed to this column.
Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.
The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics” shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.
Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.
Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid. A mandatory sequester was the only action-forcing mechanism they could devise. Nabors has said, “We didn’t actually think it would be that hard to convince them” — Reid and the Republicans — to adopt the sequester. “It really was the only thing we had. There was not a lot of other options left on the table.”
A majority of Republicans did vote for the Budget Control Act that summer, which included the sequester. Key Republican staffers said they didn’t even initially know what a sequester was — because the concept stemmed from the budget wars of the 1980s, when they were not in government.
“It’s a little more complicated than that,” Lew responded, “and even in his account, it was a little more complicated than that. We were in a negotiation where the failure would have meant the default of the government of the United States.”
“Did you make the suggestion?” Burr asked.
“Well, what I did was said that with all other options closed, we needed to look for an option where we could agree on how to resolve our differences. And we went back to the 1984 plan that Senator [Phil] Gramm and Senator [Warren] Rudman worked on and said that that would be a basis for having a consequence that would be so unacceptable to everyone that we would be able to get action.”
In other words, yes.
But then Burr asked about the president’s statement during the presidential debate, that the Republicans originated it.
Lew, being a good lawyer and a loyal presidential adviser, then shifted to denial mode: “Senator, the demand for an enforcement mechanism was not something that the administration was pushing at that moment.”
That statement was not accurate.
On Tuesday, Obama appeared at the White House with a group of police officers and firefighters to denounce the sequester as a “meat-cleaver approach” that would jeopardize military readiness and investments in education, energy and readiness. He also said it would cost jobs. But, the president said, the substitute would have to include new revenue through tax reform.
At noon that same day, White House press secretary Jay Carney shifted position and accepted sequester paternity.
“The sequester was something that was discussed,” Carney said. Walking back the earlier statements, he added carefully, “and as has been reported, it was an idea that the White House put forward.”
This was an acknowledgment that the president and Lew had been wrong.
Why does this matter?
First, months of White House dissembling further eroded any semblance of trust between Obama and congressional Republicans. (The Republicans are by no means blameless and have had their own episodes of denial and bald-faced message management.)
Second, Lew testified during his confirmation hearing that the Republicans would not go along with new revenue in the portion of the deficit-reduction plan that became the sequester. Reinforcing Lew’s point, a senior White House official said Friday, “The sequester was an option we were forced to take because the Republicans would not do tax increases.”
In fact, the final deal reached between Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in 2011 included an agreement that there would be no tax increases in the sequester in exchange for what the president was insisting on: an agreement that the nation’s debt ceiling would be increased for 18 months, so Obama would not have to go through another such negotiation in 2012, when he was running for reelection.
So when the president asks that a substitute for the sequester include not just spending cuts but also new revenue, he is moving the goal posts. His call for a balanced approach is reasonable, and he makes a strong case that those in the top income brackets could and should pay more. But that was not the deal he made.
Read more from PostOpinions: Bob Woodward: Time for our leaders to delegate on the budget Robert J. Samuelson: The lowdown on Lew Jennifer Rubin: Jack Lew’s truth problem Eugene Robinson: The sequester madness