The Outstanding Public Debt of the United States Federal Government as of 25 Jul 2011 at 01:45:42 PM GMT was:
(click on the number for a current update)
In consideration of the partisan bickering going on in Washington D.C. these days - Today, some numbers to consider.
I googled "percent of U.S. budget" and got these very mixed numbers.
Defense Department between 20% and 31% - it depends on whether retirement benefits are a defense cost or put into social welfare or lumped with medicare and social security. Then there is the matter of Iraq and Afghanistan, because they are separately funded by Congress, they are often not included in the budget calculations for the Department of Defense.
Social Security - 20% of outflow but 0% of current taxes, because SS is already funded (though that money may run out in about 11-13 years). Any social security "fix" will have future implications for the budget debt but no immediate effect.
Interest on the national debt = 6% of total budget, but some of that is the federal government paying itself because the Treasury buys back high interest bonds before they are due and many of those debt instruments are held by other parts of the U.S. government.
If Defense, Social Security and Medicare are not on the table for budget discussions, then 61% to 79% of national government outflow is not even being considered.
A couple of more really interesting numbers. All the U.S. debt held by the Chinese (and they hold the most of any foreign country) equals less than 8% of the outstanding U.S. debt. The biggest holders of our debt - US. What with IRAs, pension funds, mutual funds, insurance companies and our dear bailed out banking system; we hold over 72% of our own debt.
Still, Fourteen Trillion Dollars seems like a significant number - $14,000,000,000,000+