About the authors: Paul J. Simko is the Frank M. Sands Sr. associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Richard P. Smith is managing director of an economic and financial advisory services firm. They are co-authors of The United States of America: An Annual Report Compilation—2021.
As Congress negotiates over the federal debt ceiling, cries such as “the country is going bankrupt” to “China owns us” have become the norm. The sheer magnitude of $30-plus trillion of gross federal debt, and the interest it accrues, provides all the impetus needed to make such statements become “truths” to the general public.