What is the total national debt of the United States?

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Currently over $9.6 trillion. Keep in mind that the "total national debt" = "total public debt" + "total intergovernmental debt". Often when you hear that the "national debt" has been decreased (i.e. during the Clinton years), they mean only that the "total public debt" has been decreased, which is the amount of government-issue debt held by the public. HOWEVER, the other component of the "total national debt", "total intergovernmental debt", is just as important - it is the amount of money the government borrows from itself to pay off public debt. This is what is contributing to the future meltdown of the social security system: the government borrows from current social security surpluses (that are the result of all the baby boomers still paying social security taxes and not retiring and receiving benefits yet), and uses these borrowings to reduce its "public debt". BUT, when baby boomers start retiring and the social security system starts owing much more money than it is taking in, that money will not be in the social security vault because the government used it to pay off its public debt. Barring a MAJOR reform before this happens, this will result in either a) massive, massive tax increases to fund these social security obligations, b) massive amounts of money being borrowed, resulting in a likely $10-40 TRILLION increase in the national debt over the next 20-40 years, or c) these obligations not being met. This is why if you are under 40 you should hate the AARP... you hear nothing about this crisis in the election talk, but even if you end up having to pay 50-60% income tax twenty years down the road so your parents' generation can comfortably retire, your generation will still face a huge shortfall in your social security that it will have to somehow account for down the line. FORM AN AAYP (American Association of Young People) ASAP, you are being cruelly and recklessly taken advantage of by the preceding generation.
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