May 10, 2010

What We Owe

Billions of Dollars in Federal Commitments
Key materials
Contact us
To speak with a scholar or learn more on this topic, visit our contact page.

This chart by Mercatus Center Senior Research Fellow, Veronique de Rugy, compiles data from the United States Treasury to illustrate our nation’s total commitments – even if no new participants ever enroll in Medicare or Social Security. This amount represents $14.124 trillion in balance sheet liabilities plus $52.145 trillion in net present value of the scheduled benefits (before the passage of healthcare legislation) over the next 75 years to Social Security and Medicare.

When all of our liabilities are examined en masse, it is clear that our gargantuan debt held by the public, estimated by the Office of Management and Budget to be 60% of GDP, is less than one sixth of all that we owe.

Learn more about the unsustainability of social insurance programs.