$16,000,000,000,000

From The Foundry:

Yesterday, the U.S. national debt passed $16 trillion. On President Barack Obama’s watch, the debt has increased by 50 percent, as campaign promise after campaign promise has drowned in a sea of federal spending.

When he was running for President, Obama condemned George W. Bush for adding $4 trillion to the national debt over eight years, calling it “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” Now—in less than four years—Obama’s Administration has already added almost $6 trillion to the debt. That means he is on track to triple Bush’s debt increase over eight years.

It is important to understand the magnitude of this debt increase and what it means for the country. Several terms are often used to describe the debt, but they are not interchangeable. Here is a quick guide to the U.S. debt.

National debt or “gross debt,” which just passed $16 trillion: This includes what we think of as federal debt plus intergovernmental debt—money the U.S. government has loaned itself from one part of the budget to another. An example of intergovernmental debt is transfers from the general fund to Social Security.

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