Historical Public Debt Outstanding

Last Updated: 12/29/2011
On this day, the national debt stands at

$15,125,898,976,397.19

What does a trillion dollars look like?


Annual Debt Summaries 1791-Present
Interest Totals
Currency In Circulation
Daily Totals (Jan.1994-Present)
Charts and Graphs

The Debt of the U.S. government will eventually destroy this country. If you don't mind being depressed, check out the numbers below. You may wish to keep in mind the fact that you as a citizen are directly responsible for paying this debt.

National Debt 1791-present

The above image was created using StarOffice®. Any decent spreadsheet that can deal with four digit years prior to 1900 should be able to read it and hopefully even display the graphic for you. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, Microsoft's Excel program is too stupid to understand that there was life in this world before 1900. Click the preceeding link for the raw data file.

This page has been massively modified. Just about all of the data that you see in the links above used to be contained on this page, but has now been broken out into separate sections.

One secton is a Table of the National Debt going all the way back to the founding of this Republic. These totals are reflected in the chart above. You might be suprised when it was at its lowest.

Another section concerns Interest on the national debt. This is a truely scary bit of information as it is money that we the tax payers are being forced to just throw down a rat-hole, never to see again. It doesn't pay for anything authorized by the constitution, and is a constant drain on the workers of this country. The data that I have for interest expense only only goes back to 1988. If any reader knows where I can get older historical figures on interest expense, please feel free to email me either the data or URL at zeugma@pobox.com.

The Inflation page is an inflation calculator stolen from the Minneapolis Federal Reserve site, with some of my own rantings included as a special bonus to ZPRC readers.

The next major section is a collection of figures on the amount of currency in circulation. I include this as a means of putting some of the numbers relating to our debt in perspective. If we took the total of all currency in circulation and attempted to use it to pay the interest on a given years debt (say 1996), you could pay it, but you would only have 76,963,592,841 left over. That may seem like a lot of money, but it is actually only 3 months (or less) worth of interest! Of course, after doing so, we'd still have next years interest to deal with as well. We also would have no cash to spend the entire year.

Anyone who gives this information more than just a cursory examination will see that it is impossible to pay off our national debt. You have probably heard much discussion in the national media about the Demopublicans and Republicrats patting themselves on the back for lowering the deficit. What they fail to mention is that this does nothing to actually reduce the debt load we carry as a country. It merely slows the growth of the debt. The debt itself has not been reduced by one single penny in decades. Our politicians have saddled us with a debt of such enormous magnitude, that our children will surely live as slaves to service the interest burdens that come from the magic of compound interest. You may want to visit the OPD ( Office of Public Debt) to see exactly who it is that owns this debt, as well as other fantastic numbers that will be used to enslave you and your children.

For a daily summary of the public debt from 01.01.1994 through the present, (this will be updated periodically), you may want to take a look at my Daily Debt Page.


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