Debt hits major milestone with Obama

President Obama reached a milestone last week: a doubling of the national debt held by the public in his nearly seven years in office.

Obama made his first presidential impression on federal spending in mid-March, 2009, less than two months after entering office. When he signed an omnibus spending bill into law that boosted federal agency budgets by double digits in some cases, the debt held by the public sat at $6.662 trillion.

Late last week, just days after Obama signed a bill to suspend the debt ceiling, total public debt rose to $13.378 trillion, doubling in just short of seven years.

According to the federal government, debt held by the public is all federal debt held by people, companies, state and local governments, Federal Reserve banks, foreign governments and other non-U.S. entities, minus certain bank securities.

The government separates out another kind of debt, which is intragovernmental holdings, or debt caused by the government when it borrows from its own accounts. Intragovernmental holdings stood at $4.288 trillion in March 2009, when Obama signed his first big spending bill.