Federal Debt

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Federal Debt'

The total amount of money that the United States federal government owes to creditors. The government's creditors include all individuals, businesses, governments and other organizations that own U.S. government debt securities. The federal debt exists as a result of federal government shortfalls, or deficit budgets in which the government's expenses exceed its revenues. The federal debt does not include any debts in the name of individuals, corporations and state or municipal governments.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Federal Debt'

In recent years, the federal debt has grown to exorbitant amounts - as of April 2006, the total federal debt was estimated to be $8.4 trillion. Viewed as an absolute number, the federal debt seems quite enormous, representing more than 20% of total worldwide debt.

However, some economists point out that the federal debt is only about two-thirds the size of the U.S. GDP - a statistic that puts the U.S. well below the debt-to-GDP levels of other industrialized countries, such as Japan. Heated debate continues as to whether the federal debt is too large and should be paid down, or whether it is simply a necessary catalyst for continued economic growth.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Debt-To-GDP Ratio

    The ratio of a country's national debt to its gross domestic ...
  2. Budget Control Act - BCA

    A federal statue passed by Congress and signed into law by President ...
  3. Debt Ceiling

    The maximum amount of monies the United States can borrow. The ...
  4. Federal Funds

    Excess reserves that commercial banks deposit at regional Federal ...
  5. Debt Security

    Any debt instrument that can be bought or sold between two parties ...
  6. Macroeconomics

    The field of economics that studies the behavior of the aggregate ...
Related Articles
  1. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Basics Of Federal Bond Issues

    Treasuries are considered the safest investments, but they should still be analyzed when issued.
  2. Options & Futures

    Explaining The World Through Macroeconomic Analysis

    From unemployment and inflation to government policy, learn what macroeconomics measures and how it affects everyone.
  3. Investing

    Where can I buy government bonds?

    The type of bond determines where you can purchase it, so you need to decide which type of bond you would like to purchase first.Bonds are debt obligations. Federal bonds are issued by the federal ...
  4. Promising high yields that the Eurozone and U.S. can't match, West African sovereign debt has caught the attention of savvy investors.
    Bonds & Fixed Income

    Interested In West African Debt? Look Here First

    Promising high yields that the Eurozone and U.S. can't match, West African sovereign debt has caught the attention of savvy investors.
  5. Investigate these expat havens if you seek a developed country with low barriers for getting a permanent resident visa – sometimes even citizenship.
    Personal Finance

    5 Developed Countries That Welcome Expats

    Investigate these expat havens if you seek a developed country with low barriers for getting a permanent resident visa – sometimes even citizenship.
  6. Free enterprise is the economic term used to describe an economy with very little government ownership.
    Economics

    What's Free Enterprise?

    Free enterprise is the economic term used to describe an economy with very little government ownership or regulation. In a free enterprise system, competition and the preferences and choices ...
  7. Some countries put up very high barriers for foreigners to get citizenship
    Personal Finance

    5 Countries Where It's Hardest To Become A Citizen

    The United States is one of five countries that put up very high barriers for foreigners to get citizenship. Here's how it compares to the other four.
  8. Depending on their parents, people not born in the U.S. either inherit U.S. citizenship or need to achieve it. Here are the steps to become an American.
    Personal Finance

    How To Become A U.S. Citizen

    Depending on their parents, people not born in the U.S. either inherit U.S. citizenship or need to achieve it. Here are the steps to become an American.
  9. Bonds & Fixed Income

    How long will it take for a bond to reach its face value?

    Learn when different savings bonds reach face value, and determine the best time to cash them in to get the highest return on your money.
  10. Bonds & Fixed Income

    How long can I hold my HH/H Bonds and still earn interest?

    Take advantage of your bond investment and learn how long you can hold on to your Series H/HH Bonds and still earn interest and receive interest payments.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Deferred Revenue

    Advance payments or unearned revenue, recorded on the recipient's balance sheet as a liability, until the services have been ...
  2. Multinational Corporation - MNC

    A corporation that has its facilities and other assets in at least one country other than its home country. Such companies ...
  3. SWOT Analysis

    A tool that identifies the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an organization. Specifically, SWOT is a basic, ...
  4. Simple Interest

    A quick method of calculating the interest charge on a loan. Simple interest is determined by multiplying the interest rate ...
  5. Special Administrative Region - SAR

    Unique geographical areas with a high degree of autonomy set up by the People's Republic of China. The Special Administrative ...
  6. Annual Percentage Rate - APR

    The annual rate that is charged for borrowing (or made by investing), expressed as a single percentage number that represents ...
Trading Center