The U.S. national debt is a measure of the cumulative net borrowing of the U.S. federal government at a given point in time. It reflects the value of outstanding U.S. government bonds issued by the Department of the Treasury and represents the cumulative net accrual of debt to finance the government’s annual budget deficits and surpluses. If its annual outlay exceeds its tax revenue, the government covers the difference via borrowing through the issuance of new Treasury securities and thereby adds to the national debt. In years when the government budget is in surplus, the Treasury can redeem its outstanding securities and reduce the national debt. With some exceptions, the national debt has existed in every year since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. The ...

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