Robert Samuelson crunches the numbers with "The True National Debt":
So the most expansive measure of national debt ($31 trillion) is nearly three times the conventional estimate ($11 trillion). Almost all the items on my list -- whether Treasury bonds or bank deposits -- are ultimately legal obligations of the federal government. Note: They differ from Social Security and Medicare benefits, which are often called "debts." They aren't. Congress can alter the benefits anytime it chooses.So we're already in a deep, deep hole of debt even without counting entitlement spending which will swallow the federal government whole over the next two decades. But by all means, let's keep up the hysterics over slicing 2% off the bloated federal budget.
Extra - Zero Hedge: "Behold the horror of sequester...in context." Oh no!