Public debt

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PUBLIC DEBT. That which is due or owing by the government.
     2. The constitution of the United States provides, art. 6, s. 1, that "all debts contracted or engagements entered into, before the adoption of this constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this constitution, as under the confederation." It has invariably been the policy since the Revolution, to do justice to the creditors of the government. The public debt has sometimes been swelled to a large amount, and at other times it has been reduced to almost nothing.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Salsman's book is an intellectual laser beam that offers clarity and precision in an important but neglected area of political and economic thought: public debt theory.
For example, I was surprised at the antipathy that many pro-free market classical economists have had toward any level of public debt. Adam Smith held that public debt "enfeebles" states and tended to "ruin" them, and he only reluctantly admitted that in the "exigency [of war] government can have no other recourse but in borrowing" (54).
(253) Salsman classifies public debt theorists into three categories that clarify their essential differences: pessimists, optimists, and realists.
But in contrast to debt pessimists, who regard public debt as inherently problematic, debt realists see a constructive role for public debt.
In the EU, the public debt for 2012 was $14.3 trillion compared to $14.5 trillion, a 1 per cent decrease, with the debt to GDP ratio being 89 per cent.
Asian countries' public debt by end of 2012 was $4.1 trillion compared to $4 trillion by end of 2011, a 2 per cent change.
In Latin America and the Caribbean Islands, public debt at the end of 2012 was $2.8 trillion compared to $2.8 trillion by end of 2011, a zero per cent change and the debt to GDP ratio was 49 per cent.
This Tuesday, Emirates 24/7 reported that the UAE gross public debt is estimated at around $236.1 billion, according to 2010 estimates by International Monetary Fund (IMF).
At the other end of the spectrum is Oman, which only has public debt of 4.4 percent of its GDP as of last year's estimates, followed by Qatar at 10.3 percent.