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Please explain the term national debt. Whom do we owe money to? Matthew Coye, Dunedin

When the federal government spends more than it makes, it borrows by selling Treasury bonds, notes and bills. The accumulation of that borrowing is the national debt. It now stands at almost $9-trillion, and the interest is a major government expense. About half the debt is owed to the Federal Reserve and other government accounts. Another 25 percent is owed to countries. The rest is spread among state and local governments, among other things.

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