In the last post I came upon an interesting number from the CIA World Factbook, that the U.S. public debt is around $5.4T, which seemed odd, considering the debt clock has us over $11T nearing the spending cap of $12.1T.
So I looked it up. There is public debt, which is $5.4T for the USA as of 2008 (but likely a trillion dollars higher now), which is the amount owed to holders of Treasury bonds. Then there is gross debt, which is that number plus what it owed by intra-governmental trust funds like Social Security. It is gross debt which is nearly $12T in the U.S.
This blog will continue to try to make sense of scattered concepts and figures one finds when attempting to nail down the level of government indebtedness.