The "US Debt Clock" says that the national debt stands at $14.5 trillion. Where did it all go? According to Senator Sanders of Vermont, a partial audit of the US Federal Reserve Bank revealed that $16 trillion was given to banks and large corporations: The Fed Audit - Newsroom: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) So there you go: We the people would be sitting on a net surplus of $1500 billion right now if it weren't for the bailouts and all the other "corporate welfare" that was handed out. Sure, the giveaways may have prevented turmoil in the markets, but at least then the investors would be the ones taking the haircut, not the entire population. Risk/reward, right? Or did they think they could cream off all that profit without hazard? The TV Hairdos claim that the pension funds and "small investors" would take the hit, but the numbers say otherwise. A few thousand families nationwide control much of the wealth and collect a disproportionate fraction of the profits, so they'd be the biggest losers by far in any large-scale writedown of debt. That writedown is going to happen - the country can never pay back what it already owes. Playing "extend and pretend" with bailouts and "mark-to-model" phony accounting doesn't change the outcome, but it will guarantee that when it finally comes, the crash will be that much worse. Still, no politician can get elected on a platform of higher taxes and lower living standards. Please understand, the money's already gone, the nation would collapse if compelled to pay it all back, and there's no good outcome. If we stop all bailouts tomorrow morning and let the chips fall where they may, we'd still find ourselves in a depression so deep that almost all savings and investments would be lost. More accurately, those notional assets are already lost. All a deflationary depression does is reveal the extent to which those assets have been over-promised. By some measures, there are $20 worth of debt promises for every $1 of actual value. Those excess promises will all collapse to near-zero value as the debtors all default. If you think that there's a political solution, all I can say is "bread and circuses." Public officials know how to tap into our collective disgust and outrage to get themselves elected, but nobody has an answer to the Debt Bomb. It's too late: it has already gone off.