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The United States Federal government has zero debt.
This might sound untrue, bizarre, or even insane at first. You’ve seen all the scary charts about the US Federal debt load and it’s difficult to conceive of the idea that there’s something untrue or misleading about it. Yet, our Federal government does not have debt in a meaningful sense, and I will explain why.
The US Federal government is a sovereign issuer of its own currency. This makes it different from you and me, or even major American companies like Microsoft and Wal-Mart. It even makes it different from the state governments, like Missouri and California, as well as Eurozone nations like Greece, Spain, and Italy. Since the United States can print its own currency, it cannot default unless it deliberately chooses to do so.
For this reason, even if we call US treasury securities “debt”, they have very little in common with debt securities such as mortgages and corporate bonds. US treasury securities have more in common with equity than debt.