The Institute’s Debt Clock is an estimate of the nation’s
publicly-held federal debt, intergovernmental debt held by the various branches
of the government, the unfunded obligations related to social insurance
programs as well as the pensions and retirement benefits promised to military
veterans and government workers.The debt
represented by notes, bonds and bills are known to the penny and can be seen here.
Estimates of the unfunded portion of America’s obligations
are not so precise.Unfunded obligations
include Social Security, Medicare, pensions, etc, and the components of the
estimate come from several agencies, the most important of which are from the
Social Security Administration’s trustees.
Typically, the trustees make their actuarial estimate and release it on
April 1st, each year.This
figure represents the trustees’ best estimate of the demographic factors that
will affect the receipts and payments that the system will pay for old age and
medical benefits for the many Americans receiving benefits.
This year, the trustees have deferred issuing their estimate
because they want to have more time to calculate the effect of the new health
care law.Their estimate must cover the
next 75 years rather than the 10 years of taxes and the six years of benefits
the Congress used to estimate reform’s costs.We expect that their estimate will be released in June,
at which time we will reset the Institute’s Debt Clock.
Click here for a more detailed explanation.