If you thought the federal deficit was an inconceivable amount of money, wait until you hear what the government actually owes.
USA TODAY reports that the government added $5.3 trillion to its financial obligations last year. This brings the total of unfunded obligations, the gap between spending commitments and revenue, to a record $61.6 trillion, or $534,000 per household.
The added commitments were taken on to mostly fund programs like Medicare and Social Security.
"The (federal) debt only tells us what the government owes to the public. It doesn't take into account what's owed to seniors, veterans and retired employees," Sheila Weinberg, founder of the Institute for Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based group that advocates better financial reporting, told the newspaper.
The $61.6 trillion represents more than one-third of the market value of all the goods and services produced in the United States.
Republicans and Democrats are currently debating whether to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. President Obama is leading the fight to raise taxes on wealthier Americans to help fund the county’s entitlement programs. But Republicans are pushing for deeper, long-term spending reductions.
In a meeting between the two parties yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner said, “’It is time to start talking about trillions’ of dollars in cuts,” Reuters reported.