The federal debt is not officially calculated the way that other accounting is done. Future obligations are not included, thus promising ever larger payments for health and retirement programs are not accurately reflected in government official debt totals. There are some legitimate arguments for why using exactly the same standards as others does not make sense for the federal government accounting. However the current methods make it too easy for politicians to claim they are not spending our grandchildren’s money for promises they make today. Rules ‘hiding’ trillions in debt:
Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.
Foisting debts on our grandchildren because we elect politicians that refuse to either cut spending (and promised spending) or raise taxes is a sad legacy of the last 30 years for the USA.