The U.S. Treasury has published a major report revealing that the federal government has amassed $124.1 trillion in debts, liabilities, and unfunded obligations. To place this shortfall in perspective, it equates to:
- $955,407 for every household in the U.S.
- 29 times annual federal revenues.
- 86% of the combined net worth of all U.S. households and nonprofit organizations, including all assets in savings, real estate, corporate stocks, private businesses, and durable consumer goods like automobiles and furniture.
The new data reflect the government’s finances at the close of its 2021 fiscal year on September 30, 2021. Unlike other estimates of the federal government’s red ink which extend into the infinite future, the figure of $124.1 trillion only includes Americans who are alive right now. Thus, it measures the financial burden that today’s Americans are placing on future generations.
Officially called the “Financial Report of the United States Government,” this 258-page publication is mandated by a federal law which requires the Treasury and White House to produce a full accounting of the government’s “overall financial position” each year. Beyond the national debt, this also includes the government’s explicit and implicit commitments. This methodology approximates the accounting standards that the federal government imposes on publicly traded corporations.