Now that all recent bond auctions have settled, and with no further bond auctions scheduled until the rest of the year, we can look at the final tally of US total debt: the number – $13,879,785,000,000.
This represents a $1.568 trillion increase in total US debt held by the public for 2010, and $4.388 trillion since the collapse of Lehman.
This is in essence the cost to US taxpayers to keep the financial system solvent, as the US has become the biggest marginal leveraging actor in the world.
Of course, since this money does not have to be repaid any time soon, nobody seems to mind, especially not the politicians in Washington.
As we have said before, and pro forma for the Obama tax deal, we expect total debt issuance in 2011 to accelerate once again, and to hit just under $2 trillion, putting total US debt at the end of next year at around $16 trillion.
We also fully expect the Fed to monetize the bulk of that issuance. We can’t wait to hear the positive spin on this one.