(CNSNews.com) - At the close of business on Aug. 31--for the first time in the history of the country--the publicly held debt of the federal government topped $10 trillion, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury Department at 4:00 p.m. yesterday.
During Obama's presidency, debt held by the public has now increased by $3.71694 trillion--or almost 59 percent from the $6.3073 trillion in debt held by the public that the government owed to its creditors on Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama was inaugurated.
Also, according to the most recent reports available from the Treasury and the Federal Reserve, approximately $6.1 trillion of that debt—or about 61 percent of it—is owned by foreign interests (led by the Chinese and the Japanese) and by the Federal Reserve.
At the close of business on Aug. 30, as reported by the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt, the federal government's debt held by the public equaled $9,990,126,772,846.86. By the close of business on Aug. 31, it was $10,024,253,354,407.07.
The "intragovernmental" debt is money the Treasury has borrowed out of government trust funds—including the Social Security trust fund—to use on federal expenses other than those the trust funds were set up to cover. This "intragovernmental" debt is money the government owes itself.
The 'debt held by the public," according to the Treasury, includes "all federal debt held by individuals, corporations, state or local governments, foreign governments, and other entities outside the United States Government." Among the types of Treasury securities included in the "debt held by the public" are Treasury bills (which mature in one year or less), Treasury notes (which mature in two to 10 years), Treasury bonds (which mature in 30 years), U.S. Savings Bonds, and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.
At the close of business on Aug. 31, the total outstanding debt of the U.S. government—including both the debt held by the public and the intragovernmental debt--equaled $14,684,292,994,743.93.
Of that $14,684,292,994,743.93 in U.S government debt, $10,024,253,354,407.07 was debt held by the public and $4,660,039,640,336.86 was intragovernmental debt.
From Obama's inauguration as president on Jan. 20, 2009 through Aug. 31, 2011, the total debt of the U.S. government increased $4.05742 trillion. But most of that increase—roughly 92 percent—has been from the increase in debt held by the public as opposed to an increase in intragovernmental debt.
When Obama was inaugurated, the overall federal debt was $10.6269 trillion, with about $6.3073 trillion of that in debt held by the public and $4.3196 trillion in intragovernmental debt.
By Aug. 31, 2011, the debt held by the public had increased by about $3.71694 trillion during Obama's presidency while intragovernmental debt had increased only by $340.47 billion.
The Treasury's most recent report of foreign holdings of U.S. debt (released on Aug. 15) shows the value of U.S. Treasury securities held by foreign interests as of the end of June. At that time, according to the report, foreign interests held $4.4992 trillion in U.S. debt. (The two leading foreign holders of U.S. debt were entities in mainland China, which owned 1.1655 trillion in U.S. debt as of the end of June, and entities in Japan, which owned $911 billion in U.S. debt as of the end of June.)
The Federal Reserve, according to the August edition of the "Federal Reserve System Monthly Report on Credit and Liquidity Programs and the Balance Sheet," owned $1.638 trillion in publicly-traded U.S. debt as of July 27.
The combined $4.4992 trillion in foreign holdings of U.S. debt and $1.638 trillion held by the Federal Reserve equaled $6.1372 trillion in U.S. debt held by foreign interests and the Federal Reserve.
That combined $6.1372 trillion in U.S. debt held by foreign interests and the Federal Reserve—as per the latest public reports—would equal approximately 61.2 percent of the $10.02425 trillion in U.S. government debt held by the public as of Aug. 31.