Federal Debt:

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions: An Update

GAO-04-485SP: Published: Aug 12, 2004. Publicly Released: Aug 12, 2004.

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This report updates information in our 1999 publication, Federal Debt: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions--An Update (GAO/OCG-99-27, May 28, 1999). At the time of our last publication, the federal government was running budget surpluses, and debt held by the public was projected to drop to historically low levels. This report provides updated information to reflect the changes in the nation's fiscal condition and outlook. Our update addresses frequently asked questions about the federal debt, deficits, and surpluses. In this update, we present current information on how federal debt is defined and measured, the relationship between federal debt and the budget and the economy, federal debt management and ownership, and future policy issues regarding federal debt.

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