There is a lot of news lately about the Federal government potentially running up against a debt limit and not being able to keep borrowing. This raises the question of how the government keeps track of debt. http://www.publicdebt.treas.gov/ doesn’t explain anything about the information systems used by the Federales. Are we sure that we didn’t blow through the debt limit some months ago? http://www.fms.treas.gov/index.html makes it look as though some efforts are being made to keep track of the cash, but with $16.94 trillion to track, it seems possible that bonds and other obligations could slip through the cracks.
How do we know what we know about the debt?